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Saw dust vs. Lungs

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  • Saw dust vs. Lungs

    My dad is going to be 79 this December 22nd. He's a retired Auto Mechanic who has been woodworking for at least 20 years. I can't begin to count the hours I've spent with him in his workshop over the last 30 years. He has passed on his love for the hobby to me and, I hope, some of his tremendous talent.

    He developed a nasty cough a few months ago that would not go away. After a few weeks of tests and much anxiety, the pulmanologist diagnosed a rare pnuemonia(B.O.O.P.), possibly caused by foriegn material being inhaled and irritating the lining of the lungs. Apparrently, this is a chronic situation and will have to be treated for the rest of his life. I haven't been able to find much info on the internet about B.O.O.P.

    We can't be sure what caused this disease. Maybe 30 years of exposure to dust from brake shoes in his auto repair shop but, the sawdust certainly didn't improve things.

    I now where an inexpensive resperator when I work in my shop. You can get them at HD. I'm trying to keep as much sawdust out of my lungs as possible.

    We should all consider using a resperator.
    keep makn\' sawdust!...just don\'t breath any.

  • #2
    Sorry to hear about your dad's condition----you're right----could be the auto work, sawdust or something else.

    But, had to laugh at your "inexpensive respirator." Inexpensive respirator will give you inexpensive protection (i.e., maybe next to none). Take my word for it-----if you're committed to not breathing sawdust, you really should do more than pick something off the shelf at HD----these things need to fit your face/jaw and for long-term wearing, full face or head gear, or powered air will be more comfortable. But, another good goal is to reduce as much dust, at the source, as you can----DC for sanding, sawing, etc., is a good goal to shoot for.
    Dave

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    • #3
      Seriously, while on this topic, I would guess that standard precautions would be enough to take care of sawdust issues in a shop. In that list I would include:

      </font>
      • Using a dust collector or shop vac, when possible, with power tools.</font>
      • Running an air filtration system - one of those ceiling mount units.</font>
      • Utilizing dust masks and all when doing sanding and other high dust work.</font>
      I am still quite the amateur at this all, so my post is actually a question. Should all of these basic precautions be enough? Seems to me that going to the point of ALWAYS wearing a respirator would be a bit excessive.

      Btw. I am sorry to hear about your Dad. I hope he can still make it out to the shop to get in the sawdust! [img]smile.gif[/img]

      shouldn't you be fine if you use a dust collector/shop vac with tools, when possible. U

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      • #4
        Greg,
        Sorry to hear of your fathers condition, but this affliction is news to me,having been a woodworker for twenty five years I have inhaled enough sawdust to build a home or two, but have never had a lung problem, and have had one sick day in the past ten years, I have heard of Mechanics getting sick from inhaling everything from gas fumes to fumes from parts cleaning fluid maybe that is the culprit, either way I hope everything works out alright.
        Phillip Allen
        Orlando,Fl.

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        • #5
          OSHA Woodworking Info

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          • #6
            Mark pointed you in the right direction.

            Whenever possible, it's best to get the dust at the source----be sure to buy tools with DC hook-ups---particularly sanders. I use one with my ROS and with just a small vacuum, it's amazing that there is almost no dust that gets away from it.

            Respirators (with rubber mask and one or two replaceable cartridges) will filter much more dust than the paper masks. I'd at least use the respirator for sanding----espacially on sanders or work that you can't use DC.

            While those of us doing home shop/hobby, are unlikely to have health problems, lung problems are cumulative with other exposures. So, if you have or are smoking or been in other potentially hazardous work (asbestos, cotton dust or other such materials) it's good to reduce additional reductions in lung function.
            Dave

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            • #7
              Thanks for the comments gentleman. I appreciate your empathy and well wishes.

              The purpose of my post is to make everyone more aware of the potential for health problems, even in the home shop. Most of us won't think twice about plotting down $150 for e new drill,or $500 for a new Table saw but, we'll wait as long as we can before installing a top notch dust collection system(at least, I've put it off)

              The "inexpensive" respirator to which I referred is a dual canister type that costs about $30. Thats inexpensive compared to most equipment in our shops. It seems to work quite well.

              As time and money permit, I will add a substantial DC system, along with a ceiling mounted air filter as suggested by Capt B. I advise all to do the same.

              Ironicly, we took the doctor's final diagnosis as GOOD news. All earlier tests indicated a far worse situation.

              I've changed my tag line...
              keep makn\' sawdust!...just don\'t breath any.

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              • #8
                3M respirators are the way to go. I have the 1/2 and full face units in my shop. The full face unit is good when the dust really flies like when I'm blowing dust out the shop with a leaf blower or sanding wood that irritates nose and eyes like teak [img]tongue.gif[/img]
                No Bull Dust Just Saw Dust

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                • #9
                  3-M has excellent products, as well as North and MSA.
                  Dave

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                  • #10
                    I recently attended a seminar put on by OSHA concerning respirators. It is very easy to fit a MSA, 3M or North respirator to your face and they are inexpensive. The trick is using the correct cartridge. If you buy a 3M respirator you could use a P100 filter. The filters should be thrown away regularly and the respirator kept clean. Remember, sawdust is a known carcinogen. Any safety supply house sells them and can help with fit testing and proper cartridges.

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                    • #11
                      For the record I stopped smoking about 6 months ago.

                      I work with 2 smokers and it kills me when they insist on the most expensive respirators (my cost) and then during breaks (every 20 min. or so) they suck down packets of cigarettes. Ah true denial is bliss.
                      No Bull Dust Just Saw Dust

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                      • #12
                        Greg, sorry to hear about your dad. I myself am 26 and I have been diagnosed with C.O.P.D. I don't know if it was from the seven years in a hosiery mill working with natural cotton or the five years in commercial construction. I didn't realize I had it till I failed a breating test for a job interview. I never took my breathing or my hearing serious till now. There is nothing like hearing a doctor tell you that you have an irreversable lung disease to make you wake up and smell the roses. So just because some of you are healthy and happy without a mask today, doesn't mean your lungs wont set up like concrete tommorow.

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                        • #13
                          I think I need to add a comment as to what NOT to buy. I was thumbing through the Woodcraft flyer, and they've added yet another bizare, so-called respirator---this one with pumped air and a face shield, unlike any I've seen in any other design. While Woodcraft has great ww'ing tools, in general I'd strongly advise against their so-called respirators----they truly defy every tried and true standard of design.

                          On any safety equipment you want to look for certifications by either NIOSH or ANSI----if they don't have one---don't buy it.
                          Dave

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                          • #14
                            After purchasing my first table saw (TS3650) I finally got to do some real work with it this past weekend and noticed that using dados really kickup a lot of dust. I currently do not have a shop vac hooked up to the table saw, but seeing as though all of the dust is on top of the table saw, will a shop vac hooked up underneath really do the job or do I need an air filtration system instead?

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                            • #15
                              Check your manual on the shop vac and see what sized particals the filter is rated for. A 5 or even 1 micron filter should take care of most airborne dust problems. Depending on the brand/model of your vac, check the mfgs' site for better filters or there are some that can be retrofitted for HEPA filters. But, if it's an old vac, I wouldn't spend a load of money on it, as a shop vac will not compare to the efficiency of a small dust collector.

                              I don't know what Ridgid currently has, as they haven't been in HD for years. I can tell you Penn State sells the DX1-B, with 1 micron bags for around $229----I have this with the stock 5 micron bags and it's great.

                              BTW----I don't know how well that shroud on the 3650 works, but, I'd advise you to watch it if you're not using any hook-up (vac or DC) when working with sappy woods or wet woods, as it may load up and clog and could cause you some problems.
                              Dave

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