Harmful saw dust
Steering clear of cedar dust, and what could happen if you don't. January 16, 2001
After I saw white cedar, I cough for about a week. Just how dangerous is this?
We are all allergic to certain things. Take your body’s advice and avoid being around what you are particularly sensitive to.
Avoid inhaling any type of sawdust. I wear a "Dust-foe 66" dust mask. My neighbor went to the hospital after having a reaction to Port Orford cedar.
Cedar has a known relationship to nasal cancer and also is commonly associated with respiratory allergies.
Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor
The comments below were added after this Forum discussion was archived as a Knowledge Base article (add your comment).
Comment from contributor A:
I knew a guy who sawed nothing but cedar and he developed a strange unknown fungus in his lungs and died. It really baffled the doctors and he was cold three days after being admited to the hospital. Moral of this story, don't smoke cigarettes and cut dry cedar logs in an enclosed barn. Do it outside.
Comment from contributor B:
After sawing or sanding for five minutes without a mask, blow your nose and notice what shows up in the tissue. That is in your lungs. If you are allergic to anything, you inhaled this stuff just as if you had eaten or drank it. Your lungs have fine hairs in them to trap foreign particles and overuse of these hairs can cause irritation. Your body tries to get rid of this debris by coughing. Some people have extreme allergic reactions to things and exotic woods may be one of yours, or maybe even woods that are common to your area. Some of the symptoms are a red itchy rash in the area that has come in contact with what you are allergic to. Another is headaches. Play it safe - use a respirator or dust mask if in a confined space. Change out the filters regularly and or use a new paper filter mask each day. Stay healthy!