Wood toxicity chart

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Bushcrafter through and through
Nov 29, 2003
I across this chart while browsing the internet and thought that some of you might find it interesting (look at Birch!) I've tried to tidy the columns up as they weren't spaced evenly on the site I found it. If I copied it stright in, all the letters jammed together. If anyone knows how this can be sorted I would like to know please.

I know it's not perfect but it's better than it was!

[i]The following chart appeared in _American Woodturner_ June 1990,[/i]

Originally posted to rec.woodworking by Bruce Taylor taylor@tpwosf.tay1.dec.com

Wood Reaction Site Potency Source Incidence
---- -------- ---- ------- ------ ---------
Bald Cypress S R + D R
Balsam Fir S E,S + LB C
Beech S,C E,S,R ++ LB,D C
Birch S R ++ W,D C
Black Locust I,N E,S +++ LB C
Blackwood S E,S ++ W,D C
Boxwood S E,S ++ W,D C
Cashew S E,S + W,D R
Cocobolo I,S E,S,R +++ W,D C
Dahoma I E,S ++ W,D C
Ebony I,S E,S ++ W,D C
Elm I E,S + D R
Goncalo Alves S E,S ++ W,D R
Greenheart S E,S +++ W,D C
Hemlock C R ? D U
Iroko I,S,P E,S,R +++ W,D C
Mahogany S,P S,R + D U
Mansonia I,S E,S +++ W,D C
N + D
Maple (Spalted) S,P R +++ D C
Mimosa N ? LB U
Myrtle S R ++ LB,D C
Oak S E,S ++ LB,D R
C ? D U
Obeche I,S E,S,R +++ W,D C
Oleander DT N,C ++++ D,W,LB C
Olivewood I,S E,S,R +++ W,D C
Opepe S R + D R
Padauk S E,S,R + W,D R
Pau Ferro S E,S + W,D R
Peroba Rosa I R,N ++ W,D U
Purpleheart N ++ W,D C
Quebracho I R,N ++ LB,D C
C ? D U
Redwood S,P E,S,R ++ D R
C ? D U
Rosewoods I,S E,S,R ++++ W,D U
Satinwood I E,S,R +++ W,D C
Sassafras S R + D C
C ? D U
Sequoia I R + D R
Snakewood I R ++ W,D R
Spruce S R + W,D R
Walnut, Black S E,S ++ W,D C
Wenge S E,S,R + W,D C
Willow S R,N + D,W,LB U
West. Red Cedar S R +++ D,LB C
Teak S,P E,S,R ++ D C
Yew I E,S ++ D C
DT N,C ++++ W,D C
Zebrawood S E,S ++ W,D
I - irritant S - skin D - dust R - rare
S - sensitizer E - eyes LB - leaves,bark C - common
C - nasopharyngeal R - respiratory W - wood U - uncommon
P - pheumonitis, C - cardiac
DT - direct toxin
N - nausea, malaise
1. _Woods Toxic to Man_, author unknown
2. Woods, B., Calnan, C.D., "Toxic Woods." _Br. Journal of Dermatology_ 1976
3. _ILO Encyclopedia of Occupational Health and Safety_ 1983
4. Lame, K., McAnn, M., _AMA Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants_, AMA 1985
5. _Poisondex_, Micromedix Inc. 1990[/code:1:6258a4a124]


Sep 9, 2003
Yvelines, north-west of Paris, France.
That's a useful chart, but I think that you have to be careful that you don't read too much into it.

I was looking at another database of wood toxicity, and the notes to it made interesting reading. It seems that several of the "toxic" woods were deemed to be so after studies of woodworking professionals in specific areas, like the Vosges in France, or in Scandinavia. These men would have been exposed to a particular wood dust, in some cases a single species, day in, day out, over years or decades. They may have become sensitized to a particular dust, or may have "overdosed", provoking reactions.Your amateur woodworker would suffer no problem.

Then there's the problem of allergic reactions; the wood is not toxic, but in particlar people can cause distressing or dangerous effects (from stinging the eyes, blotchiness of the skin, to constricted airways)

On the other hand, there are other woods really may be toxic... I've heard that cocobolo dust is bad for you, but when I asked at Craft Supplis (where I recently bought a piece), I was told "Oh, it can be"...


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