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Identifying and Mitigating Occupational Exposure to Wood Dust in Puerto Rico

Zimmetry Environmental provides industrial hygiene and indoor environmental quality testing, consulting and training services to help companies comply with respiratory protection standards to safeguard their workers.

Bayamon, Puerto Rico – WEBWIRE

Fortunately, there are a number of ways to minimize worker exposures to wood dust and other respiratory hazards.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified wood dust as carcinogenic to humans back in 1995. In the workplace, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that wood dust becomes a potential health problem when wood particles from processes, such as sanding and cutting, become airborne.

OSHA goes on to share that in addition to cancer concerns, breathing these particles may cause allergic respiratory symptoms, and mucosal and non-allergic respiratory symptoms. The extent of these hazards and the associated wood types have not been clearly established; however, western red cedar dust has been shown to cause asthma.

Health effects from exposure to wood dust come not only from the wood dust itself, but also from biological organisms, such as mold that can grow on the wood. Exposure to various chemicals used in the processing of some types of wood and wood products are yet another health concern. Wood dust can also be a fire hazard and even a combustible dust hazard under certain conditions.

To protect workers from respiratory threats, OSHA has set a Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) and NIOSH has a Recommended Exposure Limit (REL) for wood dust.

“Fortunately, there are a number of ways to minimize worker exposures to wood dust and other respiratory hazards,” said Harry Pena, President of Zimmetry Environmental. “These include dust elimination at the source, containment, ventilation, work practices, training and personal protective equipment. Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and a number of states have OSHA approved local guidelines and standards for addressing various dusts in the workplace. At Zimmetry, we offer inspections, testing, monitoring and training services to meet these local requirements. These services not only help to protect worker health and safety, they can also be essential for maintaining regulatory compliance and avoiding costly penalties.”

Zimmetry recently sponsored an educational video about wood dust exposure risks that can be seen at:

To learn more about Zimmetry Environmental and their wood dust or other industrial hygiene, building science, compliance and consulting services, please visit, call (787) 995.0005 or email .

About Zimmetry Environmental
Since 2002, Zimmetry Environmental has been providing environmental consulting services to building owners and managers, architects, engineers, EHS professionals and Fortune 500 companies. The company is based in Puerto Rico and provides services across the Caribbean and Central America. The professionals at Zimmetry offer environmental compliance, indoor air quality, asbestos, lead-based paint, Phase I ESAs and general environmental consulting services.

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 Puerto Rico
 Industrial Hygiene
 Occupational Health
 Wood Dust

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