by Professor Gene Wengert
Is it safe to use Eastern Red Cedar wood (Juniperis virginiana) in contact with eating utensils (e.g., plates, silverware)? I would like to make some use of it in kitchen cabinetry, but I've read some talk about its toxicity to pets.
I checked into the texts I have here and could not find anything specific to Eastern Red Cedar. In the past, this wood has been used for woodenware. The wood is toxic to fungi, but that is the extent of its toxicity as far as I could find. It is used for bedding for hamsters, gerbils, cats, etc.
Professor Gene Wengert is Extension Specialist in Wood Processing at the Department of Forestry, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
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Comment from contributor A:
Last night I was told that cedar, escpecially red cedar, is very toxic to our respiratory system. I have been working with cedar for three years and had never heard such a thing. After all, as Professor Gene Wengert said, it is used everywhere in pet bedding, woodenware, and the oil is even promoted as a "safe, non-toxic" alternative to DEET. But after researching this question on the web I found that cedar and pine are actually fairly toxic. Cedar from a chemical called plicatic acid and pine from a chemical known as abietic acid. Maybe it is time to invest in that dust collection system.