US Dept of Labor

Occupational Safety & Health AdministrationWe Can Help

Wood dust

General Description

  • Synonyms: Beech; Birch; Mahogany; Maple; Oak; Sapele; Walnut - Hardwoods. Redwood; Teak - Softwoods. Western Red Cedar
  • OSHA IMIS Code Number: 9210 - Hardwood; 9211 - Softwood; W102 - Western Red Cedar
  • IMIS Name History: W103 - All soft and hard woods, except Western Red Cedar - was discontinued in 4/1993
  • NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) Identification Number: ZC9850000
  • NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards, Wood dust: chemical description, physical properties, potentially hazardous incompatibilities, and more

Exposure Limits

  • Respirable dust not included for compliance, as per Standard Interpretation between NIOSH and OSHA, April 22, 1993.
  • OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL):
  • American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Value (TLV):
    Western red cedar
    0.5 mg/m3 TWA*; Sensitizer; Appendix A4 - Not Classifiable as a Human Carcinogen Classifiable as Human Carcinogen
    All other species
    1 mg/m3TWA*
    Carcinogenicity Oak and beech
    Appendix A1 - Confirmed Human Carcinogen
    Birch, mohagan, teak, walnut
    Appendix A2 - Suspected Human Carcinogen
    All other wood dusts
    Appendix A4 - Not Classifiable as a Human Carcinogen
    * Inhalable fraction, see Appendix C, paragraph A
  • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Recommended Exposure Limit (REL): 1 mg/m3 TWA; Appendix A - NIOSH Potential Occupational Carcinogens

Health Factors

  • Carcinogenic Classification:
  • Potential Symptoms: Irritation eyes; epistaxis (nosebleed); dermatitis; respiratory hypersensitivity; granulomatous pneumonitis; asthma, cough, wheezing, sinusitis; prolonged colds; nasal cancer
  • Health Effects: Nasal cancer (HE1); Respiratory sensitization---Asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HE9); Irritation- Eye, Nose, Throat, Skin---Marked (HE14)
  • Affected Organs: Eyes, skin, respiratory system
  • Notes:
    1. Minimizing dust levels at work sites will go a long way to decrease damage to employee health.
  • Literature Basis:
    • No Authors: Wood Dust (PDF). Report on Carcinogens (latest edition); U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, National Toxicology Program.
    • No Authors: Wood Dust and Formaldehyde. IARC Monogr. Eval. Carcinog. Risks Hum. 62: 35-194.
  • Date Last Revised: 03/18/2008

Monitoring Methods used by OSHA

Primary Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method (SLC1):
  • Tared 37-mm diameter low-ash polyvinyl chloride filter
  • maximum volume: 960 Liters
  • maximum flow rate: 2 L/min
  • current analytical method: Gravimetric
  • method reference: OSHA Analytical Method (OSHA PV2121)
  • method classification: Partially Validated
  • note: OSHA personnel must obtain tared sampling media from the Salt Lake Technical Center. DO NOT USE CYCLONE! Respirable dust not included for compliance purposes, as per Standard Interpretation between NIOSH and OSHA - April 22, 1993.

** All Trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Search Chemical Sampling Information


By Name


By CAS Number
collage image - OSHA Salt Lake Technical Center

*Accessibility Assistance: Contact OSHA's Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management at (202) 693-2300 for assistance accessing PDF materials.

All other documents, that are not PDF materials or formatted for the web, are available as Microsoft Office® formats and videos and are noted accordingly. If additional assistance is needed with reading, reviewing or accessing these documents or any figures and illustrations, please also contact OSHA's Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management at (202) 693-2300.

**eBooks - EPUB is the most common format for e-Books. If you use a Sony Reader, a Nook, or an iPad you can download the EPUB file format. If you use a Kindle, you can download the MOBI file format.

Back to Top

Thank You for Visiting Our Website

You are exiting the Department of Labor's Web server.

The Department of Labor does not endorse, takes no responsibility for, and exercises no control over the linked organization or its views, or contents, nor does it vouch for the accuracy or accessibility of the information contained on the destination server. The Department of Labor also cannot authorize the use of copyrighted materials contained in linked Web sites. Users must request such authorization from the sponsor of the linked Web site. Thank you for visiting our site. Please click the button below to continue.