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Wood Allergens and Toxicity

Some people are sensitive to certain species of wood, wood dust, or wood oils. Eye, respiratory, and skin irritation can occur, and can be extreme in some cases. All woods, regardless of species, produce sawdust that is harmful when inhaled.

Because of this, we always recommend using appropriate eye, nose, and skin protective equipment when working with wood. When working with an unfamiliar species, be sure to assess the potential for any adverse reaction prior to starting a project.

The chart below lists woods known to cause reactions in sensitive individuals. It is not intended to cover all species:

Wood Species Reaction
African Blackwoodirritant, sensitizer
Alder (Alnus genus)irritant
Andirobairritant, sneezing
Angelim vermelhounspecific allergic reactions
Ash (Fraxinus genus)irritant
Birch (Betula genus)irritant, sensitizer, nausea
Bloodwoodirritant, excessive thirst, salivation, nausea
Bocotecross reactions possible once sensitivity to other woods have developed
Bubingairritant, lesions
Camphorirritant, asthma, headaches, giddiness
Cedar, Aromatic Redirritant
Cedar, Spanishirritant
Chechenirritant, sensitizer
Chinaberryirritant, headaches
Cocoboloirritant, sensitizer, nausea, asthma, pink eye
Cypresssensitizer
Cypress, Australianirritant, asthma, swelling of eyelids, boils, NPC (rare)
Ebony (Diospyros genus)irritant, sensitizer, pink eye
Ebony, Macassarirritant, sensitizer
Garapairritant
Greenheartsensitizer, wheezing, severe throat irritation, splinters go septic, cardiac and intestinal disorders
Imbuiairritant
Ipeirritant, headache, asthma, vision effects
Irokoirritant, sensitizer, asthma, boils, giddiness, HP
Jatobairritant
Kataloxirritant
Kingwoodirritant, sensitizer, pink eye
Lacewoodirritant
Mahogany, Africanirritant, sensitizer, NPC (rare)
Mahogany, Santosirritant
Makoreirritant, nausea, headache, giddiness, nervous system and blood effects
Maple (Acer genus)irritant, sensitizer, asthma; HP in spalted maple
Monkeypodirritant
Morairritant
Oak (Quercus genus)irritant, sensitizer, asthma, NPC (rare)
Obecheirritant, sensitizer, runny nose, sneezing, hives, asthma
Padauk (Pterocarpus genus)irritant, sensitizer, nausea, asthma
Palm (Arecaceae family)irritant, constitutional effects
Persimmonirritant
Poplarirritant, blisters, asthma, bronchitis
Purpleheartirritant, sensitizer, nausea
Rosewood (Dalbergia genus)irritant, sensitizer, asthma
Rosewood, East Indianirritant, sensitizer
Sapeleirritant, sneezing
Silky Oak, Northernirritant
Silky Oak, Southernirritant, sap may cause blistering of skin, eyelid inflammation
Sissooirritant
Sucupira (Bowdichia nitida)irritant
Tatajubairritant
Teakirritant, sensitizer, rash, nausea, asthma, vision effects, pink eye, HP
Tigerwoodsensitizer
Tzalamcold-like symptoms
Walnut, Blackirritant, sensitizer, NPC (rare)
Wengeirritant, sensitizer, splinters go septic, nervous system effects, abdominal cramps
Yellowheartirritant
Zebrawoodsensitizer
Ziricotecross reactions possible once sensitivity to other woods have developed
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