Always wear a dust mask to prevent dust inhalation. I do wear it when working a piece oak or beech.
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The dust particles can irritate or scratch the interior of the lungs.
Breathing in wood dust. Breathing rates and smoking are among the most important. The most common way that wood dust affects a woodworker is by being an irritant. That being said though i wouldnt worry about your dad or your asthma in this situation.
Good dust collecting systems are very expensive and probably out of a lot of peoples budget. A disposable paper dust mask may be slightly better than nothing but even a fancy 5 disposable p100 dust mask with a breathing valve will not perform as well as a properly fitted respirator with replaceable p100 filters. Regarding the issue of wood dust one must realize that it both a political and medical issue.
The extent of these hazards and the associated wood types have not. Breathing these particles may cause allergic respiratory symptoms mucosal and non allergic respiratory symptoms and cancer. The settling of dust in the lungs increases with the length of time the breath is held and how deeply the breath is taken.
First off lets be clear. Extended periods of breathing in the dust will potentially cause lung problems. Working with wood and drywall can be dangerous because of the dust these material can create.
The brief history of wood dust is that in england a rare form of nasal cancer showed up in 2 studies 1965 and 1968 and the common denominator seemed to be furniture and cabinet workers which was translated to wood dust. Whether breathing is through the nose or mouth is also important. This can mean reactions such as itching sneezing coughing runny nose rashes and asthma like breathing problems.
Wood dust becomes a potential health problem when wood particles from processes such as sanding and cutting become airborne. As for the sawdust its my opinion that breathing in a little saw dust is not the end of the world. Ive a dust mask but i wonder if it worth wearing it when working on pine wood.
I went the cheap way and learned how to use hand planes for smoothing boards. It would probably take a lot of long term exposure to develop any problems from wood dust. This simply means that it can irritate our skin our eyes and our lungs.
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