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Dangers of Breathing Sawdust Options
mrb1977
Posted: Wednesday, January 21, 2009 5:46:36 PM
Rank: Newbie
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Joined: 3/5/2007
Posts: 0
Location: Albany, ny
Hello colleagues, I know we have had many discussions on this forum about dust collection units and such. I am searching for some literature on the dangers of sawdust in a wood shop. The high school Technology teachers are trying to convince the school district to purchase a dust collection unit for the wood shop. The average woods class size is 15, the shop dimensions are 24'x80'. The dust collection unit is non-existent. The school wont budge to purchase one with the tough economic times ahead of us. Any ideas or suggestions? Thanks, Mr.B
mikeb
Posted: Wednesday, January 21, 2009 7:18:59 PM
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Joined: 3/7/2008
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Location: North Kingstown/RI
Check into the OSHA regulations on dust and you might find some answers there. I have two small Delta air cleaners in our school shop which is slightly smaller than your facility.
Jeffseiver
Posted: Thursday, January 22, 2009 12:04:35 AM
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Joined: 11/22/2007
Posts: 0
Location: Mission Viejo/Calif.
I have three Dust Cats which hang from the ceiling. They clear the air completely every 5 minutes. I also have an old time 4" aluminium tube system connected to a dust collector out back. It is hooked up to the saw stop only. I still get dust around the room. But they work pretty good. Noisy but good. Depending on what you caan get, money wise. Look in some equipment cataloges. You can go online. Just type in dust collection systems.
creighta
Posted: Thursday, January 22, 2009 7:20:58 AM
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Joined: 1/16/2008
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Location: Georgetown/OH
I looked a few years ago too. OSHA has some very vague info, but they do say that particulates are bad for you.

If you don't get the money, build a plywood box, add an old furnace fan and some filters and you have a very effective start to a dust filtering system.

My shop has 3 smokeeters that seem to create more dust than they trap and they are a pain to clean.
mstang64bb
Posted: Thursday, January 22, 2009 11:46:03 AM
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Joined: 8/21/2007
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Location: Coventry, CT
I have two of those "home made" unit in my school shop. I put in a washable outside filter and a electromagnetic one on the inside. They work pretty well as I must clean them weekly...

A project isn't finished, until a FINISH is on it....Bob~
Dean_K
Posted: Thursday, January 22, 2009 9:00:51 PM
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Joined: 8/20/2006
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
Sawdust from solid wood is not as bad for you as sawdust from engineered products especially mdf and other nasties.

Regarding literature....I suggest you just get the material safety data sheets from the company that sells you MDF. If they don't have any MDSs order some MDF from BlueLinx or any other large building supply company and they should have them. You can probably find the info on the internet if you look hard enough. The MDSs from MDF or other worse for you engineered products will clearly describe all the negative effects of breathing dust from these products. Let's say kids are are making speaker boxes from MDF and other items where you use engineered woods as a substrate. You get the picture.

Regarding getting a dust collection system on a budget, I suggest the school purchase a nice used dust collection system at auction as most of them are going unsold at the moment and often they must be removed from facilities upon the end of a lease. I have seen them super cheap on exfactory and ebay as well. As far as cleaning the ambient air, I suggest installing two Smokeeter type particle filters overhead. They use an electrical field to trap dust but they can be improved installing fabric filters ahead of the electric ones. Every time I clean them out I am amazed at how much very light dust I get out of them from machines ten feet below them. Again, dirt cheap on ebay.
Giz
Posted: Thursday, January 22, 2009 9:32:53 PM
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Joined: 6/6/2006
Posts: 0
mrb1977 wrote:
Hello colleagues, I know we have had many discussions on this forum about dust collection units and such. I am searching for some literature on the dangers of sawdust in a wood shop. The high school Technology teachers are trying to convince the school district to purchase a dust collection unit for the wood shop. The average woods class size is 15, the shop dimensions are 24'x80'. The dust collection unit is non-existent. The school wont budge to purchase one with the tough economic times ahead of us. Any ideas or suggestions? Thanks, Mr.B


This is my 25th year of teaching woodshop. Facilities I've taught in are about the size described above. My facilities have always had Arrestal dust collection units, or something similar. Even with that, there are times that students can easily overwhelm the unit's ability to cleanse the air.

But....it's a HELL of a lot better than nothing!

As a matter of curiosity....when I was 19 and a freshman in college, the American Lung Association sent around a mobile van to test students for pulmonary capacity.

I measured in at 150% lung capacity for my age, gender...whatever else they threw into the mix. Big lungs genetically, I guess!

Just this last summer I had some respiratory issues (minor) and went to see the Doc. He ordered a pulmonary performance test for me. I was a little apprehensive as to what the results would show after breathing copius quantities of sawdust (compared to "Cubicle Joe") for 25 years.

Results?

130%

Tell ya what.......I'd rather be breathing sawdust than the fumes generated in a metal/welding shop like the one next door to me!
creighta
Posted: Friday, January 23, 2009 7:18:04 AM
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Joined: 1/16/2008
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Location: Georgetown/OH
I worked in a factory for a while. OSHA checked air quality there each year and approved it even though the coolant fumes were so bad that you couldn't breathe in parts of the plant.
mrb1977
Posted: Friday, January 23, 2009 3:57:28 PM
Rank: Newbie
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Joined: 3/5/2007
Posts: 0
Location: Albany, ny
Thanks for all of your answers and information. The two Tech teachers are new out of college, and very frustrated with the lack of support from the administration to purchase a dust collection unit. Since it took me three years to get the school board to approve a new system at the previous school I worked at, I totally know how they feel. Especially with the future budget crisis at hand, what are we to do?
tbaucom
Posted: Wednesday, February 04, 2009 9:29:56 PM
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Joined: 4/16/2007
Posts: 0
Location: Carmichael / CA
Hi everybody,

I joined this site about a year ago and there wasn't much happening - I just checked back and am happy to see how busy it is!

I'm out here in California and have a couple hundred students flowing through my shop each year. Needless to say, I follow OSHA guidelines to the very best of my ability. I use their "etools" site quite often for machine set up, etc. There is a decent section devoted to wood dust including permissible exposure limits if needed. It's a great site to "tool" around in...

http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/woodworking/production_wooddust.html

-- Troy Baucom

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