Can Woodworking Cause Cancer?

Shanna Cooper
Mon Jul 11, 2022

When working with wood, dust and formaldehyde are released. The exposure and inhalation of these substances may lead to a variety of cancers, including leukemia.

What Is Wood Dust?

Wood dust is produced when cutting or shaping wood with machines or tools. The highest concentration of wood dust is typically found in the furniture making, cabinet making and carpentry industries. 

How are people exposed to wood dust?

Those engaging with machinery and tools used to cut/shape wood are exposing themselves. When inhaled, the wood dust is deposited into your nose, throat and other air pathways. 

Which cancers are linked to wood dust exposure?
The three most common cancers due to exposure of wood dust are cancer of the sinuses, nasal cavity and lung. 

What occupations have the most exposure?

Those working in the transportation equipment industry, press operations with the wood products industry, lathe operations within the furniture industry, and sanding operations within the cabinetry industry.

How to reduce exposure?

The most effective and easiest way to reduce exposure is to ensure that you are wearing the appropriate PPE/respiratory protection when working around wood dust. Pairing a respirator with a good exhaust ventilation system is also recommended. 

For more information on how to limit wood dust exposure, be sure to check out the U.S Occupational Safety & Health Administration.

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