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Wood workers beware
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Woodartist posted:


Last night, I learned what I believe to be the primary cause of my recent ten day hospital stay.

While speaking with a wood working friend of mine, he mentioned that he read an article warning of the danger of working with spalted maple. That is the wood I worked with for two weeks while making nearly 50 beautiful dry vases prior to being hospitalized. I mentioned to my daughter that that spalted maple may have been a causal factor. She immediately searched the internet. Spalting occurs in select wooden species when logs are left on the ground and under moist, dark conditions for a protracted length of time. Fungi then invade the wood and create the beautiful markings which give spalted wood the unique character valued by artisans. The danger looms as soon as this wood is sawn and in particular when it is sanded. The fungal spores, invisible and odorless can easily enter the lungs and have been known to cause hardening of lung tissue and respiratory distress! It is particularly dangerous for those of us with asthma. Unknown to me at the time is that of a large number of woods tested for toxicity, spalted maple is among the highest! Of course once the wood is finished, it poses no risk. A respirator is needed to work with this wood not the simple face mask I was using. A lesson learned.

Needless to say, I'll no longer be using spalted anything!
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Amelia_WebMD_Staff responded:
How interesting! I had actually never heard of spalting until now. The wood does look beautiful, but it sure makes sense that it could affect your asthma and I'm glad that you now can be cautious! Thanks so much for sharing this information!

My daughter and I actually live very close to a lumbar yard and when we moved here, I wondered if we would be subjecting ourselves to any health risks. I actually researched and couldn't find much, but now we both have asthma. They water the logs outside less than a mile away and I'm sure that all sorts of fungus and other fun things grow in the area...
- Asthma doesn't seem to bother me anymore, unless I'm around cigars or dogs. The thing that would bother me most would be a dog smoking a cigar. - Steve Allen


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