Occupational Diseases, A Guide to Their Recognition, Revised Edition. Key MM, Henschel AF, Butler J, Ligs RN, Tabershaw IR, eds., Cincinnati, OH: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 1977 Jun; :125-128
Occupational hazards of wood and plants are discussed. Dermatitis, asthma, hay fever, irritations, toxicity, and allergic responses are some of the local and systemic manifestations of problems arising from occupational exposures to plants, plant products and woods. The handling of fruits and vegetables, including carrots, asparagus, and some citrus fruits has been documented to cause contact dermatitis. Contact with plant juices and exposure to sunlight causes a delayed photosensitization to occur. English-ivy and castor-bean plants cause allergic contact dermatitis. Primrose, chrysanthemum, poinsettia, and bulbs of hyacinth, narcissus, and tulips can cause allergic dermatitis. Eczematous dermatitis results from the lipid fraction of ragweed pollen. Castor-bean processors frequently experience hay fever, asthma, and urticaria resulting from a potent allergen in the dried pomace remaining after extraction of the castor oil. Use of the pomace for fertilizer may cause similar problems for dock workers and farmers. Women who split paprika fruit and inhale spores and mycelia of a mold growing in the fruit present with paprika sorter's disease. Coughing, wheezing, breathlessness, dermatitis, and grain fever result from exposure to grain dusts. Weakness, nausea, and vomiting occur in tobacco croppers. Toxins present in wood are usually alkaloids and may cause headache, anorexia, nausea, vomiting, bradycardia, dyspnea, or somnolence. Irritant woods include mansonia, dahoma, and cocobolo. Other woods which are allergenic, included birch, pine, dogwood, beech, mahogany, mulberry, and myrtle. Nasal cancer has been linked to the inhalation of fine dusts from wood, especially hard wood dust. An allergic response to western-red- cedar is seen among furniture workers.