View Full Version : Can indoor indoor furniture be a health hazard?

16th May 2019, 10:52 AM
Please, feel free to point me to a different are if I am posting this in a wrong place. I just wasn't sure where would a question like this should be posted.

I am a newbie. I did a few home furniture projects in the past few weeks. Simple things, like building a bed frame, computer desk and such. I used mostly cheap pinewood from Home Depot. I figured I would make a lot of mistakes (which I did) initially. During this time I developed coughing, dry throat and skin irritation. Initially I thought it was caused by some sort of a viral infection but after reading up about wood dust, I am starting to think it was a reaction to something in the materials or wood dust in general. I stopped working on these projects and the symptoms subsided but they didn't go away completely. Is it possible that the furniture pieces I built (e.g. computer desk) are still causing these irritations? Should I get rid of them too? To be clear, I built these in a shed and them brought them in the house.

16th May 2019, 12:00 PM
Welcome to the forum,
Breathing in wood dust is not good health wise. Manufactured board like MDF and treated timber even more so.
Most people who take up woodworking for the long haul invest in dust extraction. If you do not have decent extraction in the shed then at least wear a mask until you can afford some.
Wood items in the house are safe it is the dust created in making the furniture that does the harm. Plenty of information on the subject on line and on this forum. Check out the dust extraction section.

16th May 2019, 12:14 PM
Thank you! I am primarily worried about the wood items currently in the house. I will take up your advice and will not continue working until a proper dust extraction system is in place.

16th May 2019, 02:57 PM
Pine may be treated if its intended for outdoors.

Here in Australia all the pine that's treated has a different colour - green, blue, red. Untreated pine is simply kiln dried.

The treatments cant be good for you!

As for MDF, there is a huge variety of products. I purposely purchase F0 MDF. It is free of formaldehyde. My supplier (TimberWood.com.au for the Aussies who may be interested) use only steam and pressure to bond their MDF. I was advised they use more material than normal, heat it right up, then press it with such force and speed that the lignin literally creates a bonding agent of itself.

Ive read Masonite is made the same way, except with a spontaneous vacuum.

The timberwood panels are much harder and form edges and shapes in an absolutely superior manner to all other MDF I've ever used (and I use a LOT!)

Anyway, allergies to wood dust are a real thing. If you are experinecing troubles, grab a 3M mask and 2091 filters (https://www.amazon.com/s?k=3m+mask). They are great.

16th May 2019, 02:58 PM
Thank you! I am primarily worried about the wood items currently in the house.

You have no need for concern.

24th May 2019, 04:24 PM
It depends what materials you are using. It should be fine, just use a face mask to protect from breathing in the dust.

7th Jun 2019, 04:34 PM
How long ago did you build the furniture? and as Woodpixel pointed out did you use pine that was treated? in aus, treated pine is generally the cheap stuff which isn't recommended for regular contact. Having said that you shouldn't be developing a sore throat from treated pine.

How has your exposure to dust been in the past? ie do you have a profession that exposes you to dust? As some people can become sensitised to dust over time and your increased exposure whilst making your furniture might have just tipped you over the edge.

Is your furniture finished? or unfinished? reason why i ask is finished furniture generally has had any residual dust removed whilst unfinished furniture might have some dust clinging onto the surface, also there is a good chance when you were making the items you've tracked the dust inside your house which unless you have a externally vented vacuum cleaner or good quality HEPA filter is quite difficult to remove.

In a nutshell i'll put it down to dust exposure