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Wood Toxicity and Allergen Chart

You will find below a chart of several varieties of wood species, accompanied by their reported properties and effects. You will note that the information on the chart was gathered from several sources When viewing the chart, please keep the following in mind:

If a wood is not listed on the chart, do not ensure it is fully safe to use.

If you don’t see a certain wood on the chart, it should not lead you to the conclusion that it is entirely safe to use. It just means that any adverse reactions have not been reported as of the printing o this chart. (It is possible that the wood is obscure or unknown.) It is helpful, if you have been positively diagnosed that you are indeed allergic to a certain species of wood, to take the time to research related species of woods There are many times that a wood in a certain genus will share similar allergy complexes with other related woods. This can result in cross reactions.

All types of wood dust that are inahaled are hazardous to your health.

Any type of wood dust can be extremely hazardous to your long term health. This chart merely pointsout the specific woods that will aggravate symptoms through an allergic reation, or a wood that is simply outright toxic. Keep in mind that ALL woods will produce a fine dust when they are worked. This dust will in turn damage your lungs and can create a series of other adverse health issues as well.

What types of wood are safe to use as cooking or dining ware?

In spite of the extensive list of woods that you see below, there are very few woods that are toxic in and of themselves. What the problem becomes is that the woods have the potential to cause allergic reactions in sensitive people. The risk is greatly reduced, but not completely eliminated, with the application of a food safe finish. In the end, keep in mind, that using any type of wood can be a calculated risk. The question boils down to this, “How much of a risk am I willing to take?”

Species of Wood Reaction(s) Affected Area(s) Hazard Level
Abura Irritant, Nausea, Dizziness
African Blackwood Irritant, Sensitizer
African Boxwood Irritant, Headache, Asthma No Data
Afrormosia Irritant, Nervous System Effects, Asthma, Septic Splinters
Afzelia Irritant, Sneezing
Agba Irritant No Data
Ailanthus Irritant
Albizia Irritant, Nausea, Bloody Nose, Conjunctivitis
Alder Irritant
Alligator Juniper Irritant
Alpine Ash Irritant No Data
Amboyna Irritant, Asthma No Data
Andiroba Irritant, Sneezing
Araracanga Irritant, Asthma
Ash Irritant
Ash - Mountain Irritant
Australian Blackwood Irritant, Sensitizer, Asthma
Australian Cashew Nut Irritant, Skin Lesions, Bloody Nose
Avodire Irritant, Bloody Nose, Internal Bleeding, Asthma
Balsa Irritant
Bamboo Irritant
Birch Irritant, Sensitizer, Nausea
Black Cherry Coughing, Dizziness
Black Locust Irritant, Nausea
Blackbean Irritant No Data
Bloodwood Irritant, Thirst, Salivation, Nausea
Bloodwood - Red Irritant
Blue Gum Irritant
Blue Mahoe Sneezing
Bocote Irritant
Bosse Irritant, Sensitizer, Asthma, Headache
Box - White Irritant, Rash
Boxwood Irritant, Sensitizer
Brazilwood Irritant, Headache, Nausea, Swelling, Lesions
Brigalow Irritant No Data
Brownheart Irritant
Bubinga Irritant, Lesions No Data
Buckthorn Irritant
Bulletwood Irritant
Camphor Irritant, Asthma, Headache, Dizziness
Cashew Irritant, Sensitizer
Catalpa Irritant
Cedar - Alaskan Yellow Irritant
Cedar - Aromatic Red Irritant
Cedar - Atlantic White Irritant
Cedar - Australian Red Irritant, Asthma, Headache, Dizziness, Nausea, NPC
Cedar - Incense Irritant
Cedar - Lebanon Irritant, Asthma, Headache, Respiratory Issues
Cedar - Northern White Irritant, Asthma
Cedar - Port Orford Irritant, Congestion, Asthma, Diuresis
Cedar - Spanish Irritant
Cedar - Southern Red Irritant
Cedar - Western Red Irritant, Sensitizer, Asthma, Nervous System Effects, NPC
Chechen Irritant, Sensitizer
Chestnut - Chinese Irritant
Chestnut - Sweet Irritant, Sensitizer
Chico Zapote Irritant
Chinaberry Irritant, Headache
Cocobolo Irritant, Sensitizer, Nausea, Asthma, Conjunctivitis
Cocuswood Irritant
Coolibah Irritant
Copaia Irritant No Data
Crow's Ash Irritant No Data
Cuban Mahogany Irritant
Cypress Sensitizer
Cypress - Australian Irritant, Swelling Eyes, Asthma, Conjunctivitis, NPC
Cypress - Gowen Irritant
Cypress - Leyland Irritant
Cypress - Mediterranean Irritant, Rash, Headache
Cypress - Mexican Irritant
Cypress - Monterey Irritant
Dahoma Irritant, Sensitizer
Dead Finish Irritant, Septic Splinters No Data
Djohar Irritant, Skin Discoloration, Keratitis No Data
Douglas - Fir Irritant, Dizziness, Nausea, Septic Splinters
Ebony Irritant, Sensitizer, Conjuctivitis
Ebony - Brown Irritant
Ebony - Macassar Irritant, Sensitizer
Ekki Irritant
Elm Irritant, Sensitizer, NPC
European Beech Irritant, Sensitizer, NPC
Eyoum Irritant No Data
Fir Irritant
Fir - Balsam Irritant
Freijo Irritant, Sensitizer, Thirst
Garapa Irritant
Gedu Nohor Irritant No Data
Goncalo Alves Sensitizer
Grass Tree Irritant No Data
Greenheart Sensitizer, Coughing, Septic Splinters, Cardiac Problems
Guanacaste Irritant
Gum - Lemon Scented Irritant
Gum - Spotted Irritant
Gum - Yellow Irritant
Hackberry Irritant
Hemlock - Eastern Irritant
Hemlock - Mountain Irritant
Hemlock - Western Irritant, NPC
Hophornbeam Irritant
Hornbeam Irritant
Idigbo Irritant No Data
Imbuia Irritant
Indian Beech Irritant No Data
Indian Laurel Irritant
Ipe Irritant, Headache, Asthma, Vision Impairment
Iroko Irritant, Headache, Asthma, Dizziness, HP
Ironwood - Desert Irritant, Sneezing, Coughing
Jacareuba Irritant, Fainting, Insomnia, Kidney Problems No Data
Jarrah Irritant No Data
Jatoba Irritant No Data
Jelutong Irritant
Juniper - Phoenician Irritant, Headache, Nausea No Data
Karri Irritant
Katalox Irritant
Keruing Irritant
Kingwood Irritant, Sensitizer, Conjunctivitis
Koto Irritant
Laburnum Toxic if Ingested
Lacewood Irritant No Data
Larch Irritant
Leadwood Irritant
Lebbeck Irritant
Lignum Vitae Irritant No Data
Limba Irritant, Hive, Spetic Splinters, Asthma, Bloody Nose & Gums No Data
Machiche Irritant
Magnolia Asthma, Runny Nose
Mahogany - African Irritant, Sensitizer, NPC
Mahogany - Honduran Irritant, Sensitizer, Nausea, Dizziness, Asthma, HP
Mahogany - Santos Irritant
Makore Irritant, Nausea, Headache, Dizziness, Nervous System Problems
Mango Irritant
Mansonia Irritant, Sensitizer, Bloody Nose, Septic Splinters, Cardiac Problems
Maple Irritant, Sensitizer, Asthma, HP
Maple - Queensland Irritant
Marupa Irritant No Data
Meranti Irritant No Data
Merbau Irritant No Data
Mesquite Irritant
Messmate Irritant, Asthma
Milky Mangrove Toxic Sap - Irritant, Temporary Blindness, Headache
Mimosa Irritant
Missanda Irritant, Headache, Dizziness, Nausea No Data
Moabi Irritant
Molopangady Irritant No Data
Monkeypod Irritant
Mora Irritant
Movingui Irritant
Muhuhu Irritant No Data
Mulga Toxic Wood - Irritant, Headache, Nausea
Muninga Irritant, Asthma, Bronchitis
Myrtle Irritant, Sensitizer
Myrtle - Tasmanian Irritant, Asthma, Bronchitis
Narra Irritant, Asthma
New Zealand White Pine Irritant No Data
Norway Spruce Irritant, Asthma No Data
Nyatoh Irritant No Data
Oak Irritant, Sensitizer, Asthma, NPC
Obeche Irritant, Sensitizer, Asthma, Hives
Okoume Irritant, Cough, Asthma, Conjunctivitis
Oleander Toxic Plant - Irritant, Cardiac Problems
Olive Irritant, Sensitizer
Opepe Irritant, Sensitizer, Nervous System Effects
Osage Orange Irritant No Data
Osage Orange - Argentine Irritant No Data
Padauk Irritant, Sensitizer, Nausea, Asthma
Palm Irritant, Constitutional Effects
Parinari Irritant No Data
Partridgewood Irritant, Hives, Coughing
Pau Ferro Irritant, Sensitizer
Pau Marfim Irritant No Data
Pau Rosa Irritant
Pau Santo Irritant
Peroba Rosa Irritant, Sensitizer, Nausea, Asthma
Persimmon Irritant
Pheasantwood Cavities in the wood can contain powder that is an irritant
Pine Irritant, Runny Nose, Asthma
Pine - Huon Irritant
Pistachio Irritant
Poison Walnut Toxic Sap - Irritant, Corrosive, Asthma, Nausea, Dizziness
Poplar Irritant, Blisters, Asthma, Coughing No Data
Primavera Irritant, Sensitizer
Purpleheart Irritant, Sensitizer, Nausea
Quebracho Irritant, Nausea, NPC
Quina Irritant
Ramin Irritant, Septic Splinters, Asthma
Redwood Irritant, Sensitizer, Asthma, HP
Rengas Strong Sap - Irritant, Blisters, Ulcers, Fever, Constitutional Effects
Rhodesian Teak Irritant
Rose Butternut Irritant, Conjunctivitis No Data
Rosewood Irritant, Sensitizer, Asthma
Rosewood - Brazilian Irritant, Sensitizer
Rosewood - East Indian Irritant, Sensitizer
Rosewood - Siamese Irritant, Sensitizer, Rash, Hives
Rubberwood Irritant, Sensitizer (Latex Allergy)
Saffron - Heart Irritant, Septic Splinters, Lung Congestion No Data
Sassafras Direct Toxin - Sensitizer, Nausea, Respiratory Problems, NPC
Sapele Irritant, Sneezing No Data
Satinwood - East Indian Irritant, Sensitizer, Headache, Diarrhea
Satinwood - West Indian Irritant, Sensitizer, Diarrhea, Rash, Blisters
Shittim Irritant, Coughing No Data
Silky Oak - Northern Irritant
Silky Oak - Southern Blister Sap - Irritant, Eye Inflammation
Sissoo Irritant
Slash Pine Irritant, Asthma No Data
Snakewood Irritant
Sneezewood Strong Oils - Irritant, Sneezing
Spruce Irritant, Sensitizer
Sucupira Irritant No Data
Sumac Irritant, Blistering Bark
Sweetgum Irritant
Tambootie Direct Toxin - Irritant, Diarrhea, Blindness
Tatajuba Irritant
Teak Irritant, Sensitizer, Rash, Nausea, Asthma, Conjunctivtis, HP
Thuya Irritant
Turpentine Irritant, Swelling No Data
Tzalam Respiratory Problems
Utile Irritant No Data
Verawood Sneezing
Walnut - African Irritant, Systemic Effects, NPC
Walnut - Black Irritant, Sensitizer, NPC
Walnut - English Irritant, NPC
Wamara Irritant
Wenge Irritant, Sensitizer, Septic Splinters, Nervous System Effects
Western Hemlock Irritant, NPC No Data
Western Juniper Irritant
White Peroba Irritant, Sensitizer, Asthma No Data
Willow Sensitizer, Nausea, NPC
Yew Direct Toxin - Irritant, Nausea
Yellowheart Irritant
Zebrawood Sensitizer
Ziricote Possible Cross Reactions
References:
  • Woods Toxic to Man, author unknown
  • Woods, B., Calnan, C.D., Toxic Woods, Br. Journal of Dermatology, 1976
  • ILO Encyclopedia of Occupational Health and Safety 1983
  • Lame, K., McAnn, MEDIUM., AMA Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants, AMA 1985
  • Poisondex, Micromedix Inc. 1990
  • List of woods and toxicity characteristics, Roy Banner, 1989
  • Toxic Woods Information Sheet, (Woodworking sheet #30), Health and Safety Executive, UK
  • Campbell, Bruce, Wood/Dust Toxicity, 2006
  • Ellis, Neil, Health Hazards & Wood, 1998
  • Mitchell, John, and Arthur Rook, Botanical Dermatology, 1979
  • Pentz, Bill, Medical Risks, 2008
  • Timbers & Health, Woodturners Society of Queensland, Inc.
  • Robison, Nick von, Potentially Toxic Woods, Musical Instrument Makers Forum, 1998
  • Chudnoff, Martin, Tropical Timbers of the World, Forest Products Laboratory, 1980
  • Kukachka, Francis, Properties of Imported Tropical Woods, Forest Products Laboratory, 1969
  • Sims, Michael, and Erica Skadsen, Wood Hazards, BMEzine.com LLC, 2006
  • Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 2008
  • Forest Products Laboratory, United States Department of Agriculture

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