Toxic Woods

A pile of different species wood blanks.

This list is a compilation of woods that may cause a mild to severe allergic reaction depending on the individual. Toxic woods are not limited to this list. We recommend using protective gear such as gloves, a dust mask, and dust collection devices when turning any woods.

Class of Irritants

The purpose of this handout is to bring to your attention which woods are most commonly found to cause an allergic reaction. This list is not exhaustive nor does it suggest that using these woods results in an allergic reaction for everyone. It simply suggests that in general, these woods are most commonly associated with allergic reactions and though allergic reactions to wood in general are fairly rare, these woods are most commonly associated with reactions.

Note: This list does not take into consideration dyed, stabilized, or chemically altered wood.

Reaction Category

  • Mild: Eye and skin irritation (hives, itching, redness)
  • Moderate: Difficulty breathing, nausea, headache or general malaise
  • Severe: Respiratory shutdown, liver or kidney malfunction. See your doctor immediately if you have a reaction that you consider to be more than mild.


  • Common to rare.

Wood Species and Associated Symptoms

  • Afromosia: Mild/Uncommon
  • Alder: Mild/Uncommon
  • Angelico: Mild/Uncommon
  • Arborvitae: Mild/Unknown
  • Ash: Mild/Unknown
  • Baldcypress: Moderate/Rare
  • Balsam fir: Mild/rare
  • Beech: Mild/Rare
  • Birch: Moderate/Rare
  • Black locust: Mild/Rare
  • Blackwood: Mild/Common
  • Boxwood: Mild/Rare
  • Cashew: Mild/Rare
  • Chechen: Moderate/Unknown
  • Cocobolo: Moderate/Common
  • Dahoma: Mild/Common
  • Ebony: Moderate/Common
  • Elm: Mild/Rare
  • Fir: Mild/Rare
  • Goncolo alves: Mild/Rare
  • Greenheart: Severe/Common
  • Guarea: Severe/Rare
  • Hemlock: Severe/Rare
  • Ipe: Mild/Unknown
  • Iroko: Moderate/Common
  • Katon: Mild/Unknown
  • Kingwood: Mild/Unknown
  • Mahogany, American: Moderate/Rare
  • Mahogany, African:Moderate/Rare
  • Makore: Mild/Unknown
  • Mansonia: Moderate/Common
  • Manzinilla: Mild/Rare
  • Maple: Mild/Rare
  • Mimosa: Mild/Rare
  • Myrtle: Moderate Common
  • Oak, red: Moderate/Rare
  • Obeche: Moderate/Common
  • Olivewood: Moderate/Common
  • Opepe: Mild/Rare
  • Orangewood: Moderate/Rare
  • Padauk: Moderate/Common
  • Pau ferro: Mild/Rare
  • Peroba rose: Mild/Common
  • Peroba white: Mild/Unknown
  • Purpleheart: Mild/Rare
  • Quebracho: Severe/Rare
  • Ramin: Moderate/Rare
  • Redwood: Moderate/Rare
  • Rosewood(s): Moderate/Common
  • Satinwood: Moderate/Common
  • Sassafras: Moderate/Rare
  • Sequoia: Mild/Rare
  • Snakewood: Mild/Rare
  • Spruce: Moderate/Rare
  • Stavewood: Mild/Unknown
  • Sucupira: Mild/Unknown
  • Teak: Mild/Common
  • Walnut, black: Mild/Rare
  • Wenge: Moderate/Common
  • Willow: Moderate/Unkown
  • Red Cedar: Moderate/Common
  • Yew, Europe: Mild/Common
  • Zebrawood: Mild/Rare

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