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Protecting California Workers from Exposure to Wood Dust and Other Airborne Hazards

LA Testing provides analytical services, sampling supplies and air monitoring equipment to protect workers and the public from respirable hazards.

Huntington Beach, CA – WEBWIRE

Back in 2009, wood dust was added to California’s Proposition 65 list as a substance known to cause cancer. Proposition 65 requires businesses to notify Californians about significant amounts of chemicals in the products they purchase, in their homes or workplaces, or that are released into the environment. 

There are tens of thousands of workers across the state that may be exposed to wood dust on a daily basis. This can occur during construction, renovation and demolition activities as well as in saw mills, wood processing facilities and other industrial locations.

Wood dust becomes a potential health problem when wood particles become airborne. Breathing these particles may cause allergic respiratory symptoms; mucosal and non-allergic respiratory symptoms; irritation to the eyes, nose and throat; pulmonary function impairment; and even cancer. Western Red Cedar dust has been shown to cause asthma.

“In addition to concerns over wood dust itself, some wood products have chemicals added to them during processing,” said Michael Chapman, Laboratory Manager of LA Testing’s Huntington Beach facility. “These may include formaldehyde, copper naphthenate and pentachlorophenol. These and other additives can also be an inhalation concern when wood dusts are produced.”

For workers in California, Cal/OSHA has set a limit on the amount of wood dust in the air that they can be exposed to during the work day. Employers must not exceed the Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) which is 5 milligrams of wood dust per cubic meter of air. It refers to an average exposure over an eight-hour work day. There is also a special PEL for Western Red Cedar because it is considered more toxic than many other types of wood.

To help companies protect workers and comply with regulations, LA Testing offers a wide range of industrial hygiene testing services, sampling supplies, air monitoring instruments, respirators and other forms of personal protective equipment (PPE). The laboratory has also sponsored an educational video about wood dust exposure hazards that can be seen at:  

To learn more about this or other industrial hygiene, air quality, occupational or health and safety testing services, please visit, email  or call (800) 755-1794. 

About LA Testing

LA Testing is California’s leading laboratory for air quality testing of asbestos, mold, lead, VOCs, formaldehyde, soot, char, ash and smoke damage, particulates and other chemicals. In addition, LA Testing offers a full range of air sampling and investigative equipment to professionals and the general public. LA Testing maintains an extensive list of accreditations including: AIHA LAP LLC., AIHA ELLAP, AIHA EMLAP and AIHA IHLAP, NVLAP, CDC ELITE, State of California, State of Hawaii Department of Health and other states. LA Testing, along with the EMSL Analytical, Inc. network, has multiple laboratories throughout California including Huntington Beach, San Diego, San Leandro and South Pasadena.

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