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Cedar dust allergies

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by canoenut, Mar 21, 2010.

  1. canoenut

    canoenut LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Haven't seen this subject discussed here, but I'm having major allergic reactions to cedar dust.Stuffy nose/blocked sinuses/chest congestion. In fact so sever that I may have to stop my restoration.
    Replaced two rib tops yesterday with minimal sanding and within 4 hours I was miserable. Still not very good this A.M. Did not wear a respirator, the shop was open and did some of the sanding out doors. Two weeks ago I sanded the rib and planking material to thickness. I used a respirator, was miserable for over a week. Is anyone else having this problem? If so, have you solved it. Any recommendations on type of respirators?
  2. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    I don't have this issue with cedar dust, but are the pores in the filter small enough to get all of the tiny dust grains? Sanding makes incredibly tiny particles.

    You may also want to think beyond just the respirator -- any evidence of skin or eye irritation along with it?

    A visit to an allergy doc might be in order. :(
  3. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Ex Wood Hoarder

    I have developed a reaction/sensibility to red cedar dust, such that if I
    do some sanding w/o a mask, I literally can't breath for about 2 hours.

    I must not be a bad as you as the dust mask has, for now, taken care of the problem. I also use a vac system on the sander.

    I haven't noticed a problem with white cedar.

  4. OP

    canoenut LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Cedar allergies

    Thanks for the replies. From what I have read so far on the net, many workers come down with what was diagnosed as occupational asthma, caused from breathing red cedar dust that was produced in the saw mills. The dust contains a chemical called plicatic acid which is supposedly the problem maker. Supposedly white cedar contains half the amt. of this acid. According to the info that I have read, at least in processing plants, they only rec. respirators as a last resort. Good local ventilation is rec. or move people who are sensitive to this dust to a clean are. I do know that I am allergic to both species. Usually the the problems start within four hours after working with the cedar. There is a lot of info on the net. I you are having allergy symptoms after working with cedar you might to do some reading.
  5. Denis M. Kallery

    Denis M. Kallery Passed Away July 3, 2012 In Memoriam

    Another one to watch out for is Mahogany. :(
  6. Gary Willoughby

    Gary Willoughby Boat Builder

    I also have a problem with dust. I do all my sanding outside. I have a good fan and set it up at one end to blow the dust away. Than use a electric leaf blower to clean all the dust off the boat.
  7. Ed Moses

    Ed Moses LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Wood species Toxicity Table

    This wood toxicity table link is a good reference. I printed it out and taped to my shop file cabinet for quick access. All of us working on "rotted wooden canoes" and paddle making must be careful and use the necessary protection to ensure not developing a health issue.

    Here is another link with very good information on protecting yourself in the shop.

    It is truly a tradgedy when one has to stop pursuing their passion due to developing a sensitivity to the woods they work with.

  8. OP

    canoenut LOVES Wooden Canoes

    cedar allergies

    I've done a considerable amt. of reading since my first post on this subject and I'm afraid that most of the info is not very encouraging. At least not to me. If any of you are experiencing nasal problems/shortness of breath within a few hours after being exposed to cedar dust,you may want to read the info at this site,
  9. Nutkin

    Nutkin Canoodler

    I've developed an allergy to white pine. I use a North full face respirator, leather work gloves and long sleeves or a tyvek suit if I am doing a lot of ripping and a dust collector.

    I have to be sure to change and shower immediately and wash my hair several times. It took a while for me to figure out why I was waking up in the morning with a blotchy red face until I realized the dust from my hair was getting all over my pillow case.

    Having allergies sucks. If you have hayfever or some other type of allergy and it is in full swing it can turn borderline irritants into full blown reactions. YMMV.
  10. jchu

    jchu LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Are you using a respirator or a dust mask? A respirator should keep everything and vapours out.

    I have done trim work for years and found alder dust to kick my butt. Feels like I have the flue. Prolonged exposure of any dust still can do it

    You can get a full facial respirator which I've found I like to use.

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