Dust exposures in the wood processing industry

Am Ind Hyg Assoc J. 1999 Sep-Oct;60(5):641-6. doi: 10.1080/00028899908984485.


Workers at four different woodworking processes--two logging sites, four sawmills, one major woodchipping operation, and five joineries situated in the state of New South Wales in Australia--were studied for personal inhalable dust exposures (N = 182). The geometric mean exposure at logging sites was 0.6 mg/m3 (N = 7), sawmills 1.6 mg/m3 (N = 93), woodchipping 1.9 mg/m3 (N = 9), and joineries 3.7 mg/m3 (N = 66). Overall, 62% of the exposures exceeded the current standards. Among joineries, 95% of the hardwood exposures and 35% of the softwood exposures were above the relevant standards. A majority of workers (approximately 90%) did not wear appropriate respirators approved for wood dust, while the ones who did wear them, used them on average less than 50% of the time. The significant determinants of personal wood dust exposures (n = 163) were found to be local exhaust ventilation, job title, use of handheld tools, cleaning method used, use of compressed air, and green or dry wood processed. Type of wood processed (softwood or hardwood) was not found to be statistically significant.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants, Occupational / analysis*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Dust*
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • Humans
  • New South Wales
  • Occupational Exposure / analysis*
  • Respiratory Protective Devices / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Wood*


  • Air Pollutants, Occupational
  • Dust