The adverse health effects of wood and wood dust were discussed and historical reports reviewed with an emphasis on American wood species. Contact dermatitis has been reported to be caused by the following native American softwoods and has been confirmed with patch tests: Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga), pine (Pinus), fir (Abies), hemlock (Tsuga), incense-cedar (Libocedrus), eastern-red-cedar (Juniperus), western-red-cedar (Thuja), and Sitka-spruce (Picea). Unconfirmed reports of dermatitis were listed for the softwoods Port- Orford-cedar (Chamaecyparis), larch (Larix), tamarack, and northern- white-cedar (Thuja). Dermatitis has been confirmed for poplar (Liriodendron), a hardwood American species. Evidence of contact dermatitis was uncertain for the hardwoods oak (Quercus), red-alder (Alnus), ash (Fraxinus), aspen (Populus), beech (Fagus), elm (Ulmus), maple (Acer), and basswood (Tilia). Asthma symptoms have been reported to be induced by redwood, western-red-cedar, and oak; symptoms from Port-Orford-cedar and beech have been unconfirmed. Woodcutters' eczema has been reported in Europe to have been induced by oak, aspen, elm, locust (Robinia and Gleditsia), sycamore (Platanus), and holly (Ilex). Non native birch (Betula) and European species of walnut and butternut (Juglans) have been reported to have caused contact dermatitis. Cherry (Prunus) might be a skin sensitizer. European hackberry (Celtis) species were skin, mucosal, and respiratory irritants. Cucumber-tree and magnolia (Magnolia) induced cross sensitivity with Compositae and sesquiterpene lactones. Oregon-myrtle and sassafras (Lauracea) triggered sneezing from inhalation of oils. Possible carcinogens in wood were identified as: tannins, sinapaldehyde (4206580) and coniferaldehyde (458366), 2,6-dimethoxy-1,4-benzoquinone (530552), podophyllotoxin (4354761), quercetin (117395), and safrole (94597). Systemic effects have not been linked with any commercial American species.
Occupational Safety and Health Symposia 1979, NIOSH, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Cincinnati, Ohio, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 80-139