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Dangerous mold?

Discussion in 'Woodturning Health & Safety' started by Darrell Stokes, Sep 10, 2020.

  1. Darrell Stokes

    Darrell Stokes

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    My shop is in my basement, and I have an industrial dehumidifier that keeps the air at about 45% humidity year-round. Sometimes, though, when I chainsaw a log and won't have time to get to all of it, I'll paint all of the exposed wood with Anchorseal and keep them in the shop until I can get to them. If I wait too long, mold builds up under the wax, some of it black. Could this mold be dangerous, or should I not worry about it?
     

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  2. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    Any mold, IMHO, can be harmful if inhaled. Take all precautions when using the wood.
     
  3. Dean Center

    Dean Center

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    For the great majority of people, the issue with mold will be the potential for allergy. If the person has asthma and the mold allergy triggers an asthma attack, it could be serious. Otherwise, it's like hay fever. There has been a great deal of anxiety over household mold, especially the dreaded "black mold", that is not well founded on medical science. Once such an idea gets a toehold, it's hard to undo.

    I believe Dr. Siri Robinson, who is generally regarded as the top expert on wood spalting, has said that the spalting process does not involve any fungi/mold harmful to people.
     
    Charles Cadenhead likes this.
  4. Darrell Stokes

    Darrell Stokes

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    Thanks, both!

    Dean, that puts my mind at ease about the presence of the mold. I’ve done some more research, and I’m not concerned about it spreading in the house. I wear a Trend Airshield Pro when I turn.
     
  5. Dean Center

    Dean Center

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    Darrell, if you have a basement shop with a constant humidity of 45%, you've almost certainly got mold present. And apparently haven't noticed or been bothered by it.
     
  6. Darrell Stokes

    Darrell Stokes

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    I don’t have any mold in the basement as far as I can tell, and it’s quite nicely dry. The widely recommended humidity level for mold prevention is 30–50%. (The dehumidifier manufacturer recommends 50%.) The only reason I don’t set it lower is so my rough-turned bowls don’t dry too fast!
     
  7. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Relative humidity doesn't mean anything if you don't also know the temperature. For example, at the following two temperatures 50% relative humidity yields the following absolute humidity values in grams/liter:
    • 0.006659 grams per liter at 60° F
    • 0.012696 grams per liter at 80° F
    There's almost twice as much water vapor in the air at 80° F compared to 60° F with 50% relative humidity in both cases. As a rough rule of thumb we can say that for a given relative humidity the amount of water vapor doubles for every 20° F temperature increase. You won't necessarily see mold unless it gets really bad.
     
    Darrell Stokes likes this.
  8. Darrell Stokes

    Darrell Stokes

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    Good points! I’m certainly not bothered by it, so unless I do start noticing it, I’ll keep things as they are, or perhaps turn the humidity down a bit further.
     
  9. Perry Hilbert

    Perry Hilbert

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    I have been keeping a dehumidifier going in the basement where my shop is located. In summer the humidity can be as high as 70 and in winter runs about 45. There is no heat or air in the basement and it stays about 65 in summer and 57 in winter. I do not store green wood in the shop. I have a pole barn for wood storage. And I bring wood into the shop only as needed. I do some spindle turning with kiln dried wood and that I'll store on the shelves in the shop.
     
    Darrell Stokes likes this.
  10. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    I believe Dr. Siri Robinson, who is generally regarded as the top expert on wood spalting, has said that the spalting process does not involve any fungi/mold harmful to people.[/QUOTE]
    Asthma can be triggered by a number of things. AMHIK. My wife doesn't have asthma. But an allergy survey showed that she is highly allergic to molds with no one in particular singled out as the cause of her allergic reaction.
     

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