MDF being cut at school with no masks?

Hi All,
My 14 year old daughter came home the other day with a little wooden 'project' she had made at school in DT.
It looks like it was made from 6mm thick MDF and I asked her if anyone was required to wear a face mask whilst cutting it and apparently no one was?
Now I don't *think* this was a real safety issue but should they have worn masks (officially?).
All the best ..
T i m
And is a "Hegna Saw" any good? (never heard of it till my daughter mentioned using one)
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MDF dust is certainly not good for the health and there are maximum exposure limits defined in the COSHH rules.
There are supposed to be risk assessments and exposure is supposed to be minimised and certainly below MEL.
Certainly if you were sanding MDF or cutting it with power tools in a confined space with no form of dust extraction, then a face mask is important. You have dust and formaldehyde fumes to contend with.
However, for cutting small pieces very occasionally using hand tools is not likely to create that much of a problem.
You might want to ask the craft teacher whether a risk assessment has been done or which guidelines they are following. I don't that this is worth making a big fuss about, but it may be worth raising the issue just in case they haven't considered it.

I believe that these are a small scroll saw.
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.andy

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wrote:

MDF is no more harmful than any softwood dust and considerably less harmful than many hardwood dusts.

The formaldehyde content of MDF is now (and has been for some years) negligible.

Also whether they make children wear goggles to play conkers.

On this we agree.
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Peter Parry.
http://www.wpp.ltd.uk/
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wrote:

There is no question that many hardwood dusts are a lot more harmful than softwoods.
http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/wis6.pdf
However, the HSE rates all wood dusts equally in terms of MEL, so this throws up question marks.
Certainly one should not take wood dust protection lightly
http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/roc/tenth/profiles/s189wood.pdf

Yes, but has been known to affect those allergic to formaldhyde.

Because the exposure level is likely to be small in this case.
If they were using power sanders or powered cutting tools it would be sensible to have some dust extraction and possibly disposable masks.
I don't think that this is a 'conkers' argument but agree that that is nonsense.
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.andy

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Agree - the splinters on some of the offcuts of the meranti skirting I'm putting in are lethal.
But the dust just falls to the floor it's so heavy
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Dont you think that teachers have enough regulations and hassle to contend with, without you bothering them with stuff that doesn't really worry you at all?
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Does COSHH and the HSAW Act apply to <pupils> at <schools>? It certainly didn't to start off with, and I recall that some years ago there was a hurried Regulation published to extend COSHH (I think) to technical colleges, but I can't remember schools being mentioned.
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M Stewart
Milton Keynes, UK
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On Mon, 15 Nov 2004 23:50:21 -0000, "Malcolm Stewart"

Take a look through this
www.kirklees-ednet.org.uk/subjects/ health/docs/policy/1artdesigntechnology.doc
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.andy

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wrote:

certainly
www.kirklees-ednet.org.uk/subjects/health/docs/policy/1artdesigntechnology.d oc
Thanks for the link - it seems to confirm what I thought. All the fine words are founded on a BS.
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M Stewart
Milton Keynes, UK
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On Mon, 15 Nov 2004 23:50:21 -0000, Malcolm Stewart wrote:

Well the teacher is at work. Would be a bit odd if the teacher wore protective equipment and the pupils didn't :-)
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message

So you have to protect those who have a choice in what they do but not those who don't?
Yes, I can believe that ...
Mary

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There is never any blanket need "to wear masks". There is a requirement to reduce exposure to an appropriate level. If you can achieve this by ventilation appropriate to the dust source being generated, then you don't need to mask up as well.
A scroll saw is a narrow kerf saw, cutting a small amount of material and without distributing it into an aerosol. It's also usual for scroll saws to have built-in dust blowers which can direct this dust away from the operator.
I'd have no hesitation in scrollsawing MDF without a mask. Under some conditions I'd even run it through a sawbench (mine only has gravity dust control) because that too is a reasonably low-dust process. For routing though it's quite a different situation - lots of dust, and it's sprayed right up at the operator.

Hegener. They're definitely high end scrollsaws (although the paint flakes off in great patches). To be honest, any scrollsaw will work pretty well. The only real benefits of a Hegener are lower vibration and a motor that doesn't mind running for 8 hours continuously.
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Smert' spamionam

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On Tue, 16 Nov 2004 02:34:49 +0000, Andy Dingley

Hi all and thanks for the replies and info.
I wasn't 'worried' as such by my daughters exposure to the MDF dust (I guessed the levels would be pretty low) I just wondered (knowing how cautious educators were these days) if they should?
I'm lucky that I'm not allergic to anything I know of and can work with stuff like glass fibre with no reaction. Howevrer if I feel I'm being surrounded by 'floating' particulates I will either ensure I breathe through my nose and shallow breathe, get out of the area till the dust settles or get a mask ;-)
Out of interest I have been using one of those aggressive wire brushes (twists of coat hanger sized wire on an angle grinder) to de-rust various items re my kitcar 'upgrade' and that dust seems to get everywhere and hangabout a bit?
Any particular (no pun intended) risk with this type of dust please?
All the best ..
T i m
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<snip>

I'm not sure what is the more dangerous, the iron oxide dust or the tool...

Well, would you choose inhale iron ore ?
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wrote:

Much rather iron than the other metals used in primers. Metal primers are _very_ nasty.
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Smert' spamionam

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On Tue, 16 Nov 2004 12:45:15 +0000, Andy Dingley

As in the acid etch type or any?
I tesnd to use stuff like Hammerite or Chassis Black on my car / chunky metal parts.
All the best ..
T i m
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wrote:

I know alll about that Jerry .. one took more layers of skin off my knee than I knew I had .. in about 20mS .. (ouch) ;-(>

What, as opposed to eating or injecting it ? (I thought Iron was good for us <g>). Well, no, I don't think I wan't to breath anything other than 'air', but I wasn't aware of it being particularly hazardous?
Is it?
All the best ..
T i m
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I don't advise it but you could try taking iron tablets for a while. You *can* have too much of a good thing.
MBQ
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