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Wood Dust–Be Careful!

Posted on July 03, 2012
by Wendy Stackhouse

Pinewood Derby heat

My son is a newly-minted Boy Scout so up until last month he was a Cub Scout and participated in an annual event called the Pinewood Derby. The preparation process starts weeks before the race with a parent helping the boy make a car out of a kit consisting of: a block of wood, 2 axles, and 4 wheels.

That’s it.

They can get complicated and you can use more than 1 block of wood (from a second kit) but the whole thing cannot weigh a gram over 6 ounces or you are disqualified. So if you do use more than one block, you have to get rid of some of that weight.

Where am I going?

Pinewood Derby season of the year before last, my husband and son wanted to make a Pokemon-themed car (their 4th) in an attempt to win Most Creative in Class (also their 4th) but it needed a LOT of weight taken off. So dutiful Dad got out the Mikita and set to work.

But he didn’t wear a mask.

2011 Pinewood Derby CarFor weeks afterward, he coughed. And coughed. And coughed. It was painful–and painful to listen to as well.

Sawdust is often thought of as a danger to your eyes and he was wearing eye protection, but not a mask to protect his respiratory system.

Why is it so dangerous?

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA):

Breathing these particles may cause allergic respiratory symptoms, mucosal and non-allergic respiratory symptoms, and cancer.

Is that bad enough?

So we are hoping that as you do any home renovation, building, carpentry or even art projects this summer, you will be careful and not breathe in any wood dust, a completely preventable carcinogen! Not to mention hoping that my husband will escape his experience unscathed!

Cub Scout with Pinewood Derby trophy

Oh, and this year was my son’s last year as a Pinewood Derby participant and he won Most Creative or Best Design every year he was in it! Congratulations, buddy!

Wendy Stackhouse is the Online Community Manager for AirTek Indoor Air Solutions and our affiliate Alliance Environmental Group. We welcome your comments! For more news and tips or to ask questions of our experts, Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter! For updates on environmental services like mold remediation, lead removal and pest control including bed bugs, Like us at Alliance Environmental on Facebook or follow Alliance on Twitter!

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