OAKLAND, CA – Wood dust is going back under the microscope in California.

The Health Expert Advisory Committee, working under the auspices of Cal OSHA, plans to address wood dust and five other substances on March 24. The committee is meeting to update airborne containment permissible exposure limits (PELs).

Wood dust, along with western red cedar, is being targeted for review because of its health risks, including links to cancer.

The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Administration has added wood dust to the Prop list of carcinogens.

A draft proposal for HEAC action dated Feb. 1 notes, “Because of the history of lung disease findings at higher wood dust exposure levels, with recent lower wood dust dose studies showing no or little adverse effect, and because of the clear carcinogenicity of wood dust vis a vis sino-nasal cancer, and our workforce’s growing risk factors as described above, HEAC support of ACGIH’s position of lowering the PEL to 1 mg/M3 seems reasonable and feasible. Western Red Cedar is a special case and should have a PEL of 0.5 mg/M3 and sensitizer designation.”

Read HEAC's full report.

Learn more about the HEAC's March 24 meeting and the wood dust report.

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