I got into rustic oak furniture making a few years ago and used a belt sander and detail sander outside on the pieces (about 20 days solid in total spread over 3 years, but covered in dust). I also sanded once in my bedroom, I know...daft, and there was a fair bit of dust on my bed and pillows.

Thing is, I thought that wood dust may be at worst an irritant, I didn’t have any idea that it was carcinogenic. I’ve had one slightly blocked sinus for a little while which I will get checked out after finding out oak can cause nasal cancer...but it is probably (hopefully) just a lingering cold and paranoia!

In your opinions, how at risk do you think I am of having caused myself some serious harm?


  • 2
    Off topic in my opinion as this is medical in nature. I wasn't able to find anything going in to specifics of exposure duration and frequency. At this point, I advise talking to your doctor about it and being sure to wear an appropriate respirator from now on when cutting or sanding. Oct 18 '19 at 17:47
  • 2
    Okay obviously you shouldn't get medical/health advice online, so putting that out there right up front. That said, the stats are very favourable that there's little risk from this level of exposure. The known cancer from wood dust is confined to those who have had occupational exposure, and it's even rare amongst that group. It's good you're going to get checked out but I wouldn't worry. You're probably exposed to more harmful stuff driving to and from work!
    – Graphus
    Oct 18 '19 at 18:08
  • 2
    What were you looking to do about it after the fact? I wouldn't worry about what's already happened, but make sure to take proper precautions from here on out. Oct 22 '19 at 0:20
  • Related: woodworking.stackexchange.com/q/1682/5572
    – jdv
    Feb 7 '20 at 22:06

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.