Toxic Woods

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Spalted Woods[edit | edit source]

Spalting is a product of the decay process. Spalted woods display those patterns because of fungus eating its way through the grain lines. The sugars in the wood react with the fungi causing the various color patterns. Once dried, the fungus becomes dormant, not dead. If the fungal spores get wet, they may very well resume growth. This can happen in the wood, or it can happen in your respiratory system. It is always wise when sanding to wear some sort of filter mask or respirator. However, when sanding spalted wood, consider it a must. There have been documented cases of severe respiratory infections due to inhalation of fungal spores while sanding spalted woods.[1]

Woods List[edit | edit source]

This information set forth herein is furnished free of charge and is based on public domain information that is believed to be reliable.[2] Longer and more detailed lists also exist.[3]


ID Type Reaction Site Potency Source Incidence
2 Bald Cypress Sensitizer Respiratory + Dust Rare
3 Balsam Fir Sensitizer Eyes, skin + Leaves, bark Common
4 Beech Sensitizer, nasopharyngeal cancer Eyes, skin, respiratory ++ Leaves, bark; dust Common
5 Birch Sensitizer Respiratory ++ Wood, dust Common
6 Black Locust Irritant, nausea Eyes, skin +++ Leaves, bark Common
7 Blackwood Sensitizer Eyes, skin ++ Dust, wood Common
8 Boxwood Sensitizer Eyes, skin ++ Dust, wood Common
9 Cashew Sensitizer Eyes, skin + Dust, wood Rare
10 Cocobolo Irritant, sensitizer Eyes, skin, respiratory +++ Dust, wood Common
11 Dahoma Irritant Eyes, skin ++ Dust, wood Common
12 Ebony Irritant, sensitizer Eyes, skin ++ Dust, wood Common
13 Elm Irritant Eyes, skin + Dust Rare
14 Goncalo aves Sensitizer Eyes, skin ++ Dust, wood Rare
15 Greenheart (Surinam) Sensitizer Eyes, skin +++ Dust, wood Common
16 Hemlock Nasopharyngeal cancer Respiratory ? Dust Unknown
17 Iroko Irritant, sensitizer, pneumonia Eyes, skin, respiratory +++ Dust, wood Common
18 Mahogany (Swietenia) Sensitizer, pneumonia Skin, respiratory + Dust Unknown
19 Mansonia Irritant, sensitizer, nausea Eyes, skin +++ Dust, wood Common
20 Maple (C. Corticale mold) Sensitizer, pneumonia Respiratory +++ Dust Common
21 Mimosa Nausea
? Leaves, bark Unknown
22 Myrtle Sensitizer Respiratory ++ Leaves, bark; dust Common
23 Oak Sensitizer, nasopharyngeal cancer Eyes, skin ++, ? Leaves, bark; dust Rare, unknown
24 Obeche Irritant, sensitizer Eyes, skin, respiratory +++ Dust, wood Common
25 Oleander Direct toxin, nausea Cardiac ++++ Dust, wood, leaves, bark Common
26 Olivewood Irritant, sensitizer Eyes, skin, respiratory +++ Dust, wood Common
27 Opepe Sensitizer Respiratory + Dust Rare
28 Padauk Sensitizer, nausea Eyes, skin + Dust, wood Rare
29 Pau ferro Sensitizer Eyes, skin + Dust, wood Rare
30 Peroba rosa Irritant, nausea Respiratory ++ Dust, wood Unknown
31 Purpleheart Nausea
++ Dust, wood Common
32 Quebracho Irritant, nasopharyngeal cancer, nausea Respiratory ++, ? Dust, leaves, bark Common, unknown
33 Redwood Sensitizer, nasopharyngeal cancer, pneumonia Skin, eyes, respiratory ++, ? Dust Rare, unknown
34 Rosewoods Irritant, sensitizer Skin, eyes, respiratory ++++ Dust, wood Common
35 Satinwood Irritant Skin, eyes, respiratory +++ Dust, wood Common
36 Sassafras Sensitizer, nasopharyngeal cancer, direct toxin, nausea Respiratory +, ? Dust, wood, leaves, bark Rare, unknown
37 Sequoia Irritant Respiratory + Dust Rare
38 Snakewood Irritant Respiratory ++ Dust, wood Rare
39 Spruce Sensitizer Respiratory + Dust, wood Rare
40 Walnut, Black Sensitizer Skin, eyes ++ Dust Common
41 Wenge Sensitizer Skin, eyes, respiratory ++ Dust, wood Common
42 Western red cedar Sensitizer Respiratory +++ Dust, leaves, bark Common
43 Willow Sensitizer, nausea Respiratory + Dust, wood, leaves, bark Unknown
44 Teak Sensitizer, pneumonia Skin, eyes, respiratory ++ Dust Common
45 Yew Irritant, direct toxin, nausea Skin, eyes, cardiac ++,++++ Dust, wood Common
46 Zebrawood Sensitizer Skin, eyes ++ Dust, wood Rare

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. http://straightrazorplace.com/workshop/27902-start-finish-razor-restore.html#post280517
  2. http://www.ci.tucson.az.us/arthazards/wood2.html
  3. http://cid-0b7695c5bc5fc7ea.skydrive.live.com/self.aspx/Public/20090729135220773.pdf