Acceptance and effects of nasal lavage in volunteer woodworkers

Occup Med (Lond). 1999 Aug;49(6):365-9. doi: 10.1093/occmed/49.6.365.


Wood dust is an irritant and is carcinogenic to the nasal mucosa. It inhibits its own clearance from the nose. It therefore makes sense to lavage retained wood dust from the nose following exposure. To our knowledge this is the second study conducted to determine whether the procedure of nasal lavage reduces nasal symptoms in woodworkers. Forty-six woodworkers from 150 approached volunteered to trial nasal lavage using gravity fed, home-made unbuffered isotonic saline for 2 months in a crossover trial and then be followed-up a year later. The group reported significantly decreased nasal symptoms and over half continued to use nasal lavage voluntarily after 1 year. Results support the findings of the previous study that nasal lavage improves nasal symptoms and supplements those findings with data indicating patterns of voluntary usage following the study's conclusion. It is concluded that nasal lavage is an acceptable, effective and inexpensive option with minimal side effects for woodworkers who experience nasal symptoms and who wish to try the procedure.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Dust / adverse effects*
  • Dust / analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nasal Lavage Fluid
  • Nose Diseases / etiology
  • Nose Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology
  • Occupational Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Sodium Chloride / administration & dosage*
  • Wood*


  • Dust
  • Sodium Chloride