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Author Topic: Breathing in hardwood sawdust  (Read 6908 times)

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Offline WoodenHead

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Breathing in hardwood sawdust
« on: June 06, 2012, 09:39:11 pm »
Today I tried milling my first hardwood log.  It went well.  We've been going at pine and cedar for a while now, but I have an order for some white ash.  The dust of the ash is a lot finer and that got me wondering if it is harmful to breath in the sawdust.  I believe I read somewhere that you should wear some personal protective equipment (face mask) when sawing oak because of the acid contained in the wood.

I was wondering what do you folks do with oak.  Do you wear a mask?  Do I need wear a mask for the white ash? 

Offline Magicman

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Re: Breathing in hardwood sawdust
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2012, 09:59:43 pm »
I do not saw without wearing a mask.....Period.
 

 
Glasses, ear plugs, mask, gloves, steel toe boots.
Knothole Sawmill, LLC     '98 Wood-Mizer LT40SuperHydraulic/Lombardini/Kohler

Never allow your "need" to make money to exceed your "desire" to provide quality service.....The Magicman

Offline Tree Feller

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Re: Breathing in hardwood sawdust
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2012, 10:20:51 pm »
Sawdust, all sawdust, has been labeled a carcinogen...breathing it can give you cancer. In addition, many people have or develop a sensitivity to certain woods, Aromatic Cedar being a popular one. Walnut is another that seems to bother some people a lot.

The level of PPE you wear is purely a personal decision. I don't wear a dust mask because I'm gonna die from something eventually. I really doubt that it will be caused by sawdust inhalation.

Others will tell you that those paper dust masks are useless in keeping the micron-sized dust particles out of your lungs. They advocate a positive-pressure face mask.

You will have to decide for yourself but erring on the side of caution will probably give you more peace-of-mind if not cleaner lungs.   ;)

Cody

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Offline Magicman

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Re: Breathing in hardwood sawdust
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2012, 11:04:58 pm »
This is the mask that I use:  LINK  The N95 denotes the filtration micron size.  It has the necessary exhalation valve which prevents moisture buildup.  Different Google searches may find a better price  ???
Knothole Sawmill, LLC     '98 Wood-Mizer LT40SuperHydraulic/Lombardini/Kohler

Never allow your "need" to make money to exceed your "desire" to provide quality service.....The Magicman

Offline captain_crunch

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Re: Breathing in hardwood sawdust
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2012, 01:17:15 am »
M_M
Only thought you wore mask when presenting bill :D :D :D :D :D :D :D
Sorry could not help myself  :-\ :-\
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Offline WoodenHead

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Re: Breathing in hardwood sawdust
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2012, 05:03:40 am »
I'm glad I asked the question.  Thanks for the responses and for the link. 

Ear plugs, glasses, steel-toed boots are standard for me, but I've never had much success with masks for other situations (never seemed to seal properly).  I'll give the 3M mask a try. 

Although we all will go one way or the other, I'd prefer to go without suffering.  ;)  Hopefully this thread is useful for others as well.



Offline Chuck White

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Re: Breathing in hardwood sawdust
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2012, 05:34:59 am »
You just need to realize that breathing in sawdust is breathing in a solid!

It is not natural.

I don't wear a dust mask, but if sawdust and wind are a problem on a certain saw job, I just get the saw started and let it go on it's own!
~Chuck~
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Offline Woodsrover

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Re: Breathing in hardwood sawdust
« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2012, 06:50:27 am »
Good question and an interesting subject.  I'm in the autobody business an am pretty well versed on personal protection, especially respiratory protection, yet I don't wear a mask when I'm sawing either.  Gloves and hearing protection, but no mask.  Funny that.

The 8511 mask that MM wears is very good and what we use on the floor for any sanding tasks.  It's more than good enough for sawdust.  In the past couple of months I've cut 4000+bf of white pine and just this week 1000+bf of red and pin oak.  Neither bothered me and most of the time the wind was in my favor, but sometimes it wasn't.  With this post I'll grab a few of these masks and keep them handy.  Thanks for the reminder to work safe!

Offline grweldon

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Re: Breathing in hardwood sawdust
« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2012, 08:26:43 am »
I would think a cheap $40 respirator would be better than most things.  I wear one when I'm cutting wood in the shop, but I work with many exotics and rosewoods...
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Offline Magicman

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Re: Breathing in hardwood sawdust
« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2012, 08:31:06 am »
For me, it would be rather cumbersome when sawing.
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Offline westyswoods

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Re: Breathing in hardwood sawdust
« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2012, 09:29:24 am »
Anecdotally, several years ago a young man who was working with a local tree care company delivered a load of black walnut chips. He had been chipping and pulling all day.

I am not sure what the toxins in BW are but this kid was one sorry looking kid. He should have been in the ER, tough young man. Saw him a week later and he had some severe respiratory difficulty that night. No known long term implications .

Stay Safe and Be Healthy
Westy

Offline Al_Smith

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Re: Breathing in hardwood sawdust
« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2012, 09:55:40 am »
I don't know about running a mill but red oak through a table saw causes me fits .Sneeze ,sneeze ,sneeze .Eyes water something terrible nose plugs up .

Ash,white oak,hickory ,pine ,fir no problems .

Offline opticsguy

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Re: Breathing in hardwood sawdust
« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2012, 11:01:57 am »
No respirator, no cutting, that is my rule.  Health is the greatest gift you have and without it if can not do anything else, care your family or yourself or your dreams.

When you find out your are allergic to a specific species or find you are getting ill from the dust, it is too late.
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Offline Al_Smith

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Re: Breathing in hardwood sawdust
« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2012, 11:53:57 am »
Probabley for some .In my case having worked around industrial pollution and agriculteral dusts most of my life I just developed allergies .Fact a majority of folks in this area of the country have sinus problems so short of moving to Arizona or the northern slope of Alaska there is no option but to grin and bear it .

In a desert I'd melt and on the north slope I'd freeze so I'm just stuck here in middle ground . --sneezing --:D

Offline Magicman

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Re: Breathing in hardwood sawdust
« Reply #14 on: June 07, 2012, 02:06:02 pm »
When we were created we were given a brain and the ability to think, defend ourselves, and to take whatever steps are necessary to preserve our health.  If you see a train coming, you step off of the tracks.  Airborne dust which includes sawdust is simply a slow moving train.
Knothole Sawmill, LLC     '98 Wood-Mizer LT40SuperHydraulic/Lombardini/Kohler

Never allow your "need" to make money to exceed your "desire" to provide quality service.....The Magicman

Offline Al_Smith

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Re: Breathing in hardwood sawdust
« Reply #15 on: June 07, 2012, 02:43:16 pm »
Oh don't get me wrong because I fully agree with you .I forget what they call injested  wood fiber ,brown lung maybe ?Black lung was what killed the coal miners and silicoses the sand blasters and quarry workers .

My only point in mentioning allergies is due to the fact that in areas like the "Ohio valley " you live with conditions that promote problems unless you live in a bubble .People in fact who never worked in industrial or agriculutural  dust and never had any bad habits such as smoking are affected .

What works best for me if I have a lot to cut is turn the table saw around with a fan to my back and blow the saw dust outside because mask or not my eyes will water from the oak dust .Cutting ,felling with a chainsaw no problems at all ,just saw dust .

Offline Texas Ranger

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Re: Breathing in hardwood sawdust
« Reply #16 on: June 07, 2012, 03:06:11 pm »
Over the 50 years or so I have worked wood, it is in the last ten that I noticed a reaction to some, walnut and cedar, now there are more.  I wear a mask, and try to keep (try the key word) a clean shop.  I used a lot of mahogany in my door making days, and that stuff was deadly.  I still stir up a little dust from some hidden corner and can tell immediately that all is not well.

Wear a mask.
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Offline Magicman

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Re: Breathing in hardwood sawdust
« Reply #17 on: June 07, 2012, 05:29:08 pm »
Oh don't get me wrong because I fully agree with you. 

I was speaking to the thread in general Al, trying to point out that what goes in....does not come out.

We had a local cement/concrete contractor that died recently.  Over the years, he literally cemented his lungs.  He breathed in dust, moisture was there, so bingo.   :-\
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Never allow your "need" to make money to exceed your "desire" to provide quality service.....The Magicman

Offline John S

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Re: Breathing in hardwood sawdust
« Reply #18 on: June 07, 2012, 06:51:02 pm »
Magic,
Bought a box of 10 at Lowes today, just under $20 less 10% veterans discount.  More comfortable than my cartridge respirator.  Thanks.

Offline cutterboy

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Re: Breathing in hardwood sawdust
« Reply #19 on: June 07, 2012, 08:00:08 pm »
I have a problem with cherry.....runny nose, sneeze, itchy eyes. A while back Magicman showed us a picture of that mask he uses in a post and I went out and bought one. I sawed up a wack of cherry this spring and no problems. The mask made all the difference. (Thank you Magic)

Hey Magic, how often do you change your mask?