Occupational Asthma Reference

Demers PA, Teschke K, Kennedy SM, What to do about softwood? A review of respiratory effects and recommendations regarding exposure limits. [Review], Am J Industr Med, 1997;31:385-398,

Keywords: Canada, review, wood, cancer, oa, resin acid

Known Authors

Susan Kennedy, Vancouver Susan Kennedy

If you would like to become a known author and have your picture displayed along with your papers then please get in touch from the contact page. Known authors can choose to receive emails when their papers receive comments.


Wood dust has been classified as a human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer with a footnote that the evaluation was based on a marked excess of sino-nasal cancer among workers exposed primarily to hardwood dusts. Because the epidemiologic data on the carcinogenic effects of softwoods are weaker than for hardwoods, standard setting for softwood dust presents a greater dilemma. Unfortunately, the studies of wood dust and cancer do not have the quantitative exposure data necessary for standard setting for either hardwoods or softwoods. Asthma, non-asthmatic airflow obstruction, and both upper and lower respiratory symptoms have been associated with exposure to both 'allergenic' and 'non-allergenic' softwood dusts, and an association with increasing intensity of exposure has been observed in multiple studies. The available evidence seems to indicate that to prevent these nonmalignant effects, the level of exposure to all softwood dust should be at least as low 2 mg/m3. A standard of 1 mg/m3 may be more appropriate to provide a safety margin to protect more sensitive workers. It may be that some of the health effects observed are due to the natural components of wood, such as resin acids or monoterpenes, or to molds.

Full Text

Full text of this reference not available

Please Log In or Register to add the full text to this reference

Associated Questions

There are no associations for this paper.

Please Log In or Register to put forward this reference as evidence to a question.


Please sign in or register to add your thoughts.

Oasys and occupational asthma smoke logo