Basic Wood Toxicity Table
 

Type

Reaction

Site

Potency

Source

Incidence

Bald Cypress

Sensitizer**

Respiratory

+

Dust

Rare

Balsam Fir

Sensitizer**

Eyes, skin

+

Leaves, bark

Common

Beech

Sensitizer**, nasopharyngeal cancer

Eyes, skin, respiratory

++

Leaves, bark; dust

Common

Birch

Sensitizer**

Respiratory

++

Wood, dust

Common

Black Locust

Irritant* , nausea

Eyes, skin

+++

Leaves, bark

Common

Blackwood

Sensitizer**

Eyes, skin

++

Dust, wood

Common

Boxwood

Sensitizer**

Eyes, skin

++

Dust, wood

Common

Cedar

Irritant*

Skin, respiratory

+++

Dust, wood

Common

Cocobolo

Irritant*, sensitizer**

Eyes, skin, respiratory

+++

Dust, wood

Common

Ebony

Irritant*, sensitizer**

Eyes, skin

++

Dust, wood

Common

Elm

Irritant*

Eyes, skin

+

Dust

Rare

Greenheart (Surinam)

Sensitizer**

Eyes, skin

+++

Dust, wood

Common

Hemlock

Nasopharyngeal cancer

Respiratory

?

Dust

Unknown

Iroko

Irritant*, sensitizer**, pneumonia

Eyes, skin, respiratory

+++

Dust, wood

Common

Mahogany (Swietenia)

Sensitizer**, pneumonia

Skin, respiratory

+

Dust

Unknown

Mansonia

Irritant*, sensitizer**, nausea

Eyes, skin

+++

Dust, wood

Common

Maple (C. Corticale mold)

Sensitizer**, pneumonia

Respiratory

+++

Dust

Common

Mimosa

Nausea

 

?

Leaves, bark

Unknown

Myrtle

Sensitizer**

Respiratory

++

Leaves, bark; dust

Common

Oak

Sensitizer**, nasopharyngeal cancer

Eyes, skin

++, ?

Leaves, bark; dust

Unknown

Obeche

Irritant*, sensitizer**

Eyes, skin, respiratory

+++

Dust, wood

Common

Oleander

Direct toxin, nausea

Cardiac

++++

All parts

Common

Olivewood

Irritant*, sensitizer**

Eyes, skin, respiratory

+++

Dust, wood

Common

Padauk

Sensitizer**, nausea

Eyes, skin

+

Dust, wood

Rare

Pine

Irritant* asthma

Skin, respiratory

+++

Dust, wood

Unknown

Purpleheart

Nausea

 

++

Dust, wood

Common

Quebracho

Irritant*, nasopharyngeal cancer, nausea

Respiratory

++, ?

Dust, leaves, bark

Unknown

Redwood

Sensitizer**, nasopharyngeal cancer, pneumonia

Skin, eyes, respiratory

++, ?

Dust

Unknown

Rosewoods

Irritant*, sensitizer**

Skin, eyes, respiratory

++++

Dust, wood

Common

Satinwood

Irritant*

Skin, eyes, respiratory

+++

Dust, wood

Common

Sassafras

Sensitizer**, nasopharyngeal cancer, direct toxin, nausea

Respiratory

+, ?

Dust, wood, leaves, bark

Unknown

Sequoia

Irritant*

Respiratory

+

Dust

Rare

Snakewood

Irritant*

Respiratory

++

Dust, wood

Rare

Spruce

Sensitizer**

Respiratory

+

Dust, wood

Rare

Walnut, Black

Sensitizer**

Skin, eyes

++

Dust

Common

Wenge

Sensitizer**

Skin, eyes, respiratory

++

Dust, wood

Common

Western red cedar

Sensitizer**

Respiratory

+++

Dust, leaves, bark

Common

Willow

Sensitizer**, nausea

Respiratory

+

Dust, wood, leaves, bark

Unknown

Teak

Sensitizer**, pneumonia

Skin, eyes, respiratory

++

Dust

Common

Yew

Irritant*, direct toxin, nausea

Skin, eyes, cardiac

++,++++

Dust, wood

Common

Zebrawood

Sensitizer**

Skin, eyes

++

Dust, wood

Rare

 

* Irritant: The wood causes a reaction shortly after exposure. Typical symptoms are a rash, itchy skin, sneezing, and bronchial inflammation.  The reaction tends to go away fairly quickly once you're in the clear.

** Sensitizer: Produces a more severe reaction than an irritant with a longer latency period (hours to months) before symptoms appear. Most people are unaffected by sensitizers but once you develop an allergic reaction the effects tend to get worse over time.

 






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