dust in lungs sillouette

Is Sawdust Dangerous?

Sawdust can be potentially dangerous if it is inhaled in large amounts. Inhaling sawdust can irritate the respiratory system and cause problems such as coughing, sneezing, and difficulty breathing. It can also cause irritation to the skin and eyes. In some cases, inhaling large amounts of sawdust may cause more serious health problems such as asthma or other respiratory issues. It is important to take precautions when working with sawdust, such as wearing a mask or other respiratory protection and keeping the area well-ventilated. If you are concerned about the potential dangers of sawdust, you should consult a healthcare professional or safety specialist for further information.

wood dust machine planers

What is Dust?

Dust is a collection of small particles that are typically found in the air and can settle on surfaces. Remember it’s not just sawdust and can be mixed with other carcinogens!  Dust can consist of a variety of materials, including bits of dirt, sand, and other substances. Dust can be formed by the breaking down or wearing away of larger objects, and it can be stirred up by various activities such as walking or sweeping. Dust can be harmful to humans if it contains toxic substances, and it can cause allergic reactions in some people. In general, dust is considered to be a nuisance because it can make surfaces dirty and it can be difficult to remove.

insect dust

Where does Dust com from?

There are many different types of dust, including:

  1. House dust: This is a mixture of small particles that can be found in homes, including skin cells, dead insects, faeces, pet dander, fabric fibers, and dirt.

  2. Dust mites: These are tiny, eight-legged creatures that are commonly found in household dust. They feed on organic matter, such as skin cells, and can cause allergies in some people.

  3. Construction dust: This is a type of dust that is created during construction, demolition, and other activities that disturb surfaces and materials. It can contain a variety of particles, including wood, drywall, concrete, and insulation.

  4. Pollen: This is a type of dust that is produced by plants and carried by the wind. It can cause allergies in some people.

  5. Industrial dust: This is a type of dust that is created in industrial settings, such as factories, mines, and mills. It can contain a variety of particles, including metals, chemicals, and other contaminants.

  6. Desert dust: This is a type of dust that is created in dry, arid regions, such as deserts. It can contain a variety of particles, including sand, clay, and other minerals.

Is Wood Dust Carcinogenic

There is not much evidence to suggest that sawdust is carcinogenic. However, inhaling large amounts of sawdust can cause respiratory problems such as irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, and can also cause allergic reactions in some people. It is important to use proper respiratory protection when working with sawdust to avoid these problems. 

although  Some studies have found that Douglas fir dust can cause genetic changes in human cells in the laboratory, which could potentially lead to cancer. However, more research is needed to fully understand the potential health effects of Douglas fir dust and to determine the level of exposure that may be harmful to humans. It is generally recommended to take precautions to avoid inhaling dust from any wood species, including Douglas fir, to reduce the risk of respiratory problems and other potential health issues.

How to avoid Dust

There are several ways to prevent dust in a workshop:

  1. Install an air filtration system: This will help to remove dust from the air and keep the workshop clean. I have two air purifiers in my workshop.
  2. Use a shop vacuum: A shop vacuum can be used to quickly and easily remove dust from surfaces and from the air.
  3. Keep the workshop clean: Regularly cleaning the workshop, including sweeping and wiping down surfaces, can help to reduce the amount of dust present.
  4. Reduce the use of airlines to clean areas as these will make dust airborne again.
  5. Use dust barriers: Setting up barriers around areas where dust is likely to be generated can help to contain it and prevent it from spreading throughout the workshop.
  6. Use dust-proof storage: Using dust-proof storage containers can help to keep tools and other equipment free from dust.
  7. Wear protective gear: Wearing a mask and goggles can help to protect you from inhaling dust while working in the workshop.
  8. Use dust-free sanding techniques: Using a damp sponge or cloth to sand surfaces can help to reduce the amount of dust generated during sanding.
  9. Install a vortex vacuum system since these drastically reduce a clogged shop vac filter improving efficiency
  10. Improve working practices.
  11. A Downdraft Sanding Table with extraction does greatly improve dust collection

BOSCH 14 Gallon Dust Extractor with Auto Filter Clean and HEPA Filter VAC140AH

JET JCDC-1.5 Cyclone Dust Collector, 2-Micron Filter, 763 CFM, 1-1/2HP, 1Ph 115V (717515)

Automatic Vacuum Switch with Extra Outlet for Using More Power Tools, Ortis Dust Control Autoswitch Delay Vacuum On/Off to Prevent Circuit Overload and Tripping, Adjustable Actuation Threshold, Yellow

Dust Prevention and Mitigation Products

Dust masks or respirators: These are worn over the nose and mouth to protect the respiratory system from inhaling dust particles.

Respirator Mask Reusable Half Face Cover Gas Mask with Safety Glasses, Paint Face Cover Face Shield with Filters for Painting, Welding, Polishing, Woodworking and Other Work Protection (Medium)

3M PAPR, Versaflo Respiratory Hard Hat M-307, For Powered Air Purifying Respirator, Premium Coated Polycarbonate Visor and Flame Resistant Face Seal, 1/Case

3M All-In-One Respirator, Best for Sanding, Fiberglass, Drywall, Painting, N95, Exhalation Valve Helps Direct Exhaled Air Downward, Relief From Dusts And Certain Particles, 10-Pack

Air Filtration

Air purifiers: These can be used to remove dust particles from the air in the workshop.

Shop Fox W1830 3-Speed Hanging Air Filter, White

ALORAIR PureAiro HEPA Pro 970 industrial Air Scrubber, 3-Stage Filtration System, GFCI Outlet, Negative Air Scrubber Water Damage Restoration Interior Decoration

EnviroKlenz Air Purifier Plus, for home and business up to 1000 sq ft, HEPA filter, internal cleaning system (Black)

Wood Dust Collection

Dust collection systems: These can be used to collect dust from power tools and machinery, and can be connected to a central vacuuming system.

Mullet High-Speed Cyclone Dust Collector is of a unique design since it’s construction is one piece. Anyone who has a dust deputy will know that all the joints are prone to leakage.  This is Leakfree one piece Design is perfect and Fits All Shop Vacs

Cen-Tec Systems 97470 Quick Click Dust Collection Separator.

POWERTEC 70293 Cyclone Dust Collector and Separator Kit w/Clear 6 Gallon Dust Bucket, Hoses, Reducers, Couplers and Hose Clamps

Anti Static Mats

Anti-static mats: These can be used to reduce static electricity, which can attract dust particles.

KooMall 10x2FT ESD Rubber Mat Roll, Anti Static Table Floor Pad for Electronic Device Repair Solder Assembly PC Building, W/H Grounding Kit- Antistatic Wrist Straps Bracelets Cord Plugs

 Large ESD Anti-Static Mat 118″ x 23″ ESD High Temperature Rubber Table Mat Rubber Roll Desktop Anti-Static Soldering Mat Electrostatic Discharge Protection for Circuit Phone PC Tablet Repair

Guardian 24030502 Air Step Anti-Fatigue Floor Mat, Vinyl, 3’x5′, Black, Reduces fatigue and discomfort. Also reduces static. 

It’s important to use the appropriate safety equipment and take other precautions to protect yourself from dust in the workshop.

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