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Is cedar dangerous for your health when used in indoor furniture?

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  • Is cedar dangerous for your health when used in indoor furniture?

    I'm concerned about the health risks of using the cedar as indoor furniture. Had no idea about the toxicity of cedar before making a bed with my friend out of cedar from Home Depot. Apparently the fumes/oil are bad for you long term? Is there anything I can do to protect ourselves from this?

    I did put one coat of wipe on Danish fruitwood oil on the bed, but thats about it. I also realised that the planks that the mattress sits on are also cedar and these were NOT sealed with anything, not even the danish oil. Also the back of the 6ft headboard is just raw too. Should I perhaps seal (with what?) those to be on the safe side. Its a very small bedroom with not much ventilation, so I want to be safe.

    Additionally, I also read that using Danish oil on cedar anyway is a bad idea as doesn't fully cure? Can someone advise on the impact of this.

    What does it ultimately mean if it does not fully cure. What impacts does that have? I've had the bed fully done and in use for about 7 months now.

    It's a lovely bed, but I want to ensure I treat it properly to ensure any offgassing does not cause health concerns, we plan to have this bed a long time if possible.

    So any suggestions on what I can do to make this safer, would be greatly appreciated.
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  • #2

    Re: Is cedar dangerous for your health when used in indoor furniture?

    I wouldn't think it's much of a concern... unless you're eating it... but, honestly, I don't know.

    I'm mostly going on places like "Cedarland Lumber", etc. Those places reek of cedar (smells quite nice, actually). I would think if it was a concern, the employees would need to ware masks or the lumber yard wouldn't be directly attached to the office.

    Again, mostly opinion, so take it for what it's worth.

    --Jeff

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    • #3

      Re: Is cedar dangerous for your health when used in indoor furniture?

      Originally posted by redfox05 View Post
      It's a lovely bed, but I want to ensure I treat it properly to ensure any offgassing does not cause health concerns, we plan to have this bed a long time if possible.
      If you believe your health is affected, the only answer is to get a different bed, not made from cedar.

      If toxicity of cedar is true, then it's going to be either keeping your health or the bed you made. Can't be both, since there's no way to completely seal the wood off from the air.
      I'm not going to opine/debate weather there are health effects, off gassing or sealing the wood effectively to prevent off gassing ... the bottom line is my opinion versus the copious amount of information on the internet and personnel beliefs that will shape your decision.
      Last edited by Kunzwerks; 05-18-2017, 03:27 PM.
      schor likes this.
      Measure twice, cut once ... and if that doesn't work try again

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      • #4

        Re: Is cedar dangerous for your health when used in indoor furniture?

        When sanding the dust is an irritant for many. I wouldn't think there's much problems otherwise but if the smell of of us too much you shouldn't have used it.
        Regardless of this it's probably a good idea to seal any indoor furniture.

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        • #5

          Re: Is cedar dangerous for your health when used in indoor furniture?

          Interesting what common organic substances they have deemed toxic . I was just reading the other day that sugar is a poison that can kill you . Wasn't too long ago propaganda ads by the government claiming grass would give you schizophrenia but apparently now it's all good fun and the government is in on it for the money . It's freaking amazing that they're just is that many people on the earth given all of the things that can kill us . An interesting fact about Cedar is that the homes of the Haida Indians Who happened to be the oldest tribes in North America lived in raw Red cedar homes ate from red cedar vessels store there meat in red cedar boxes fished in red cedar boats and carved totem poles in red cedar and made red cedar masks to wear around their face . Honestly I have never heard a more ridiculous thing unless what you're referring to are runny nose symptoms and


          Now I see you're new here with your first post and that perhaps you just starting into woodworking. And those are just my opinions . to me wood as far as I know raw wood has never killed anyone by offgassing in fact I haven't even heard of anybody dying from cooking A salmon on the Raw cedar planking on the Barbie or you're in the oven . Welcome to the forum enjoy your bed
          Last edited by jgarrett forsberg; 05-18-2017, 08:29 PM.
          hennebury, scooby074 and 2 others like this.
          everyone knows real machines are 3 phase. Founding member of the Wadkin blockhead club

          jack
          English machines

          http://www.youtube.com/user/tool613

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          • #6

            Re: Is cedar dangerous for your health when used in indoor furniture?

            Should i stop going to the sauna? Honestly,where will it stop?i would rather sleep in a cedar( or oak,maple etc) bed than some press board piece of crap the majority of the population spends the night in

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            • #7

              Re: Is cedar dangerous for your health when used in indoor furniture?

              Cedar wood dust is considered carcinogen like all other wood dusts, but cedar wood (in solid form) and oils are considered safe by the FDA, and when I googled it I couldn't find one credible source that says it's toxic. Cedar oils have been used in aromatherapy, traditional medicine, and even in hospitals for a long, long time. Where did you get your information? In any case, I wouldn't worry about it if I were you. As Al mentioned, the MDF that most furniture is made out of now has actually been proven to off-gas harmful substances (albeit in small quantities).
              Kayak Jim likes this.
              Frank
              SPCHT

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              • #8

                Re: Is cedar dangerous for your health when used in indoor furniture?

                Cedar is only toxic to those that are sensitized to it. It's not actually the cedar dust that will kill you but the asthmatic attack that comes with exposure. I had a guy that worked for me that had that problem, he just had to be around Western Red Cedar and he would begin to wheeze. Always had an inhaler close by just in case. He was told it was a condition similar to people allergic to bee stings. You could be stung multiple times then the body says enough and you need to carry an EpiPen or die.

                John
                Last edited by John JMK; 05-19-2017, 09:25 AM.

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                • #9

                  Re: Is cedar dangerous for your health when used in indoor furniture?

                  I can understand why someone might think about toxicity when they take in the odour of Cedar. After I read the OP I also did some googling and found nothing except for comments that people can become sensitised to the odour and may react as if they have hay fever. My personal experience with woods is that the two types that bother me the most when I'm running them thru' the sawmill are Cedar and Red Oak. Both of those types cause me to have a runny nose and an irritation in my throat from the sawdust and the odour. The effects are short lived and disappear within a few hours.Wearing a mask helps with the irritation but not with the runny nose.

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                  • #10

                    Re: Is cedar dangerous for your health when used in indoor furniture?


                    ​​​​I hope not! Almost my entire house has Red Cedar on the walls. It's been 40 years so I guess I'm good! Personally I would be much more concerned about the outgassing from the glues used in sheet materials and flooring then in Cedar.

                    ​​​​Cedar dust can be an issue with long term exposure.
                    When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

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                    • #11

                      Re: Is cedar dangerous for your health when used in indoor furniture?

                      While I'm no expert and there have already been great bits of advice given, think about how cedar is used in homes. Cedar lined chests/closets. The inside of a cigar humidor which you will inhale whats inside is likely cedar, and on the BBQ you use cedar planks for cooking. I would have to say as long as its untreated there should be no issue.

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                      • #12

                        Re: Is cedar dangerous for your health when used in indoor furniture?

                        So EMS not to get to picky but in Humidors, Spanish Cedar is used and not from the same family as Red Cedar and in closets and chests its usually aromatic cedar which is actually a juniper. Some may find the following interesting, others will just blow it off as usual.

                        http://www.wood-database.com/wood-ar...-and-toxicity/

                        John

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                        • #13

                          Re: Is cedar dangerous for your health when used in indoor furniture?

                          I use the toxicity guide that John referenced every time I start up with a new wood and as an occasional reference/reminder when working with exotics. In general, western red cedar is not likely to hurt anyone as Jack opined unless the individual has a pre-existing condition such as asthma. I have Anaphylaxis caused by bee/wasp stings and some classes of antibiotics but have zero reaction to cedar and most other woods. The only way to be sure is to be tested but...they only do that testing when there is a medical reason to so do, not to alleviate concerns over your bed! If you think you are about half-past dead, you are in the right hazard zone to warrant the testing (well or almost any child with a problem).

                          The OP might strongly consider finishing the whole bed just to stabilize the wood movement but there is not much oil left in dried cedar and it certainly does not out-gas in any significant concentration. I am certain there is a paper by NRC/CMHC on the subject but I cannot find it just now.

                          My 2 cents

                          Ken

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                          • #14

                            Re: Is cedar dangerous for your health when used in indoor furniture?

                            A lot of people think there is something strange about me, so having worked with Western Red Cedar for many years making windows and doors maybe this is what I can blame, but then again I have breathed a lot of MDF dust Fiberglass dust epoxy dust / fumes, I wonder if my time is up soon?
                            I recon worry is the biggest killer or it just sends you off the rails then your a worry to those around you, personally I like to keep my mind busy on something creative then I have no time to worry.

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                            • #15

                              Re: Is cedar dangerous for your health when used in indoor furniture?

                              Interestingly I just killed a vampire with the red Cedar Spike or was it false cypress ? Anyway I have a bit of a cold and I believe I still have half a jar of Vicks vapor rub . I reminded that there are people that will come collect your Cedar clippings to extract the oil's which are in the high concentration to sell to Johnson & Johnson has perhaps one of the oldest antihistamines . Cedar should then be considered do you have the most medicinal properties of all wood next to Willow for aspirin and yew as a cure to cancer. Perhaps your bed will prolong your life because it makes you live outside of the petri dish and

                              I see that we may have scared you off and that is not our intention nor is it to sell you the sanctity of wood as the be-all end-all but I must say it does a damn good job of trying to be the best damn thing ever invented by the earth to make man the most comfortable Of all animals
                              Last edited by jgarrett forsberg; 05-19-2017, 08:32 PM.
                              everyone knows real machines are 3 phase. Founding member of the Wadkin blockhead club

                              jack
                              English machines

                              http://www.youtube.com/user/tool613

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