In a 2015 study, researchers found that fine particles suspended in the air can aggravate rheumatoid arthritis in people with the condition. While dust is not the only fine particles involved in air pollution, people who work in woodworking industries are also put at risk from the health impacts of wood dust.
For instance, hardwoods are capable of generating finer particles than softwoods. These finer particles can easily be inhaled by workers if the facility has no dust extractor system in place. These dust particles can damage the lungs and the airways. According to the U.K. Health And Safety Executive, workers in the construction industry often suffer from these dust-related conditions: silicosis, asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder and even lung cancer.
An average person often experiences shortness of breath and coughing after inhaling dust particles. In some cases, it can aggravate dormant conditions such as allergies, dermatitis, rhinitis and other cardiovascular diseases.
While there are dust particles that can be toxic to human health, the main threat is that these particles are super fine and can easily enter the body through the nose and the mouth. Of course, the body has its line of defence against dust particles — mucus and hair — but the very fine dust particles can also get past the body’s anti-dust mechanism.
As a general rule, all wood dust should be considered harmful to the human body however, there are types of wood that are more dangerous than others because of the material itself. These include maple, greenheart, ebony, rosewoods, satinwood, western red cedar, teak, and oak to name a few.
Apart from efficient dust extraction, companies should also observe proper disposal of the waste materials. There are some wood dust systems that can turn even more toxic when burnt.
Now that you know the unseen dangers of wood dust, precaution becomes even more vital. Wood dust not only affects the health of your employees but also your business reputation and growth.