Huntington Beach, CA, May 27th, 2021
In California and across the nation, hundreds of thousands of workers are in occupations that regularly expose them to wood dust. While wood is essential for everything, from construction framing to building cabinets and furniture, exposure to wood dust can create health and safety concerns.
For example, if there is a significant accumulation of fine particles of wood dust, it can pose a fire and explosion hazard. Inhalation exposure is also an issue as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) states that “exposure to excessive amounts is considered to have an irritant effect on eyes, nose, and throat in addition to pulmonary function impairment and is considered a human carcinogen. Western red cedar dust has also been shown to cause asthma.”
In 2017, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) published Wood Dust and Work-related Asthma. The 12-page document reports that wood dust is listed as a cancer-causing agent on California’s Proposition 65 list, and it also details 25 different types of wood dust that are known to the CDPH to cause asthma. Western red cedar, a native tree to the west, made the list.
“Exposure to western red cedar dust is recognized by many as one of the most common causes of occupational asthma in the Pacific Northwest,” said Joseph Frasca, Senior Vice President of Marketing at LA Testing. “Due to its high natural resistance to decay and attractive appearance, western red cedar is a popular lumber choice for outdoor construction. Because it’s unknown which workers may become sensitized, it’s important to limit wood dust exposure. In addition, companies are required by law to protect workers from combustible dust and respirable hazards.”
In the workplace, engineering controls and training workers to minimize wood dust can be helpful. Washing areas, changing rooms, and personal protective equipment (PPE) can also be beneficial. Providing testing and monitoring support are the scientists at LA Testing. Their California laboratories offer air and dust testing services, sampling supplies, PPE, particle counters, and other air monitoring instruments. LA Testing has also sponsored an educational video about western red cedar dust and occupational asthma that can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/UZ6U8_x7Ykg.
To learn more about this or other occupational, indoor air quality, environmental, health, and safety services, please visit www.LATesting.com, email info@LATesting.com, or call (800) 755-1794.
About LA Testing
LA Testing is California’s leading laboratory for indoor air quality testing of asbestos, mold, lead, VOCs, formaldehyde, soot, char, ash, and smoke damage, particulates, and other chemicals. In addition, LA Testing offers a full range of air sampling and investigative equipment to professionals and the general public. LA Testing maintains an extensive list of accreditations including AIHA-LAP, LLC (AIHA-LAP, LLC EMLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC IHLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC ELLAP), CDC ELITE, NVLAP, State of California, State of Hawaii Department of Health, and other states. LA Testing, along with the EMSL Analytical, Inc. network, has multiple laboratories throughout California including South Pasadena, Huntington Beach, San Leandro, San Diego, and Ontario.