iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Analysis of dust exposure during chainsaw forest operations

Enrico Marchi (1), Francesco Neri (1)   , Martina Cambi (1), Andrea Laschi (1), Cristiano Foderi (1), Gianfranco Sciarra (2), Fabio Fabiano (1)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 10, Issue 1, Pages 341-347 (2017)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor2123-009
Published: Feb 23, 2017 - Copyright © 2017 SISEF

Research Articles

In 1999, the European Union proclaimed hardwood dust carcinogenic based on the classification of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) issued in 1995. The operational exposure limit (OEL) for inhalable wood dust has been set to 5 mg m-3 by EU directives, though in different countries the OEL ranges from 1 to 5 mg m-3. The objective of this study was to determine the exposure to wood dust of forest workers in chainsaw cutting and processing and suggest possible countermeasures. The study took into consideration different silvicultural treatments (coppice clear cut, conifer thinning, conifer pruning, and sanitary cut) and chainsaw fuel (normal two-stroke gasoline mix and two alkylate fuels). All the forest operations were carried out in forests located in Central Italy, on the Apennine mountain range. During the tests, 100 samples were collected by means of personal SKC Button Sampler (one sample per worker per day). The results showed that exposure to wood dust varied widely with forest operation type, while no significant difference were found for different type of chainsaw fuel. The average wood dust concentration was about 1.5 mg m-3 for all operations except coppicing, which showed a mean level of about 2.1 mg m-3. About 93% of the samples showed a concentration lower than 3 mg m-3, and in only two samples (one in conifer pruning and one in clear cut in coppice), the concentration was slightly higher than 5 mg m-3.


Forest Operation, Chainsaw, Inhalable Wood Dust, Wood Dust Exposure, Cancer

Authors’ address

Enrico Marchi
Francesco Neri
Martina Cambi
Andrea Laschi
Cristiano Foderi
Fabio Fabiano
GESAAF, University of Florence, v. S. Bonaventura 13, I-50145 Florence (Italy)
Gianfranco Sciarra
Local Health Unit n. 7 Siena, str. del Ruffolo 4, I-53100 Siena (Italy)

Corresponding author

Francesco Neri


Marchi E, Neri F, Cambi M, Laschi A, Foderi C, Sciarra G, Fabiano F (2017). Analysis of dust exposure during chainsaw forest operations. iForest 10: 341-347. - doi: 10.3832/ifor2123-009

Academic Editor

Giacomo Goli

Paper history

Received: May 26, 2016
Accepted: Sep 23, 2016

First online: Feb 23, 2017
Publication Date: Feb 28, 2017
Publication Time: 5.10 months

Breakdown by View Type

(Waiting for server response...)

Article Usage

Total Article Views: 40832
(from publication date up to now)

Breakdown by View Type
HTML Page Views: 34037
Abstract Page Views: 2112
PDF Downloads: 3841
Citation/Reference Downloads: 19
XML Downloads: 823

Web Metrics
Days since publication: 2679
Overall contacts: 40832
Avg. contacts per week: 106.69

Article Citations

Article citations are based on data periodically collected from the Clarivate Web of Science web site
(last update: Feb 2023)

Total number of cites (since 2017): 14
Average cites per year: 2.00


Publication Metrics

by Dimensions ©

Articles citing this article

List of the papers citing this article based on CrossRef Cited-by.

ACGIH (2016)
TLVs® and BEI®. Product ID: 0116. American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygenists (ACGIH) Publication, Cincinnati, USA, pp. 272.
ACSHW (2012)
Opinion on the approach and content of an envisaged proposal by the Commission on the amendment of Directive 2004/37/EC on Carcinogens and Mutagens at the workplace. The Advisory Committee on Safety and Health at Work, Opinion Document, European Commission Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion DG, Brussels, Belgium, pp. 14.
Online | Gscholar
Albizu-Urionabarrenetxea P, Tolosana-Esteban E, Roman-Jordan E (2013)
Safety and health in forest harvesting operations. Diagnosis and preventive actions. A review. Forest Systems 3: 392-400.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Alwis KU (1998)
Occupational exposure to wood dust. PhD Thesis, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, pp. 291.
Bell JL (2002)
Changes in logging injury rates associated with use of feller-bunchers in West Virginia. Journal of Safety Research 4: 463-471.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Bergstrand KG (1991)
Planning and analysis of forestry operations studies. Skogsarbeten Forest Operations Institute of Sweden. Bulletin 17, Stockholm, Sweden, pp. 63.
Caliskan E (2012)
Productivity and cost analysis of manual felling and skidding in oriental spruce (Picea orientalis L.) forests. Annals of Forest Research 2: 297-308.
Chirila MM, Sarkisian K, Andrew ME, Kwon CW, Rando RJ, Harper M (2014)
A comparison of two laboratories for the measurement of wood dust using button sampler and diffuse reflection infrared fourier-transform spectroscopy (DRIFTS). Annals of Occupational Hygiene 3: 1-11.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Davies HW, Teschke K, Demers P (1999)
A field comparison of inhalable and thoracic size selective sampling techniques. The Annals of occupational hygiene 6: 381-92.
CrossRef | Gscholar
European Commission (1999)
Council Directive 1999/38/EC of 29 April 1999 amending for the second time Directive 90/394/EEC on the protection of workers from the risk related to exposure to carcinogens at work and extending it to mutagens. Official Journal of European Communities 138: 66-69.
European Commission (2004)
Council Directive 2004/37/EC of 29 April 2004 on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to carcinogens or mutagens at work. Sixth individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16 (1) of Council Directive 89/391/EEC. Official Journal of European Communities 229: 23-30.
Foà V, Cila PE, Martinotti I, Bertazzi PA (2008)
Esposizione a polveri di legno: la valutazione delle SCOEL (Scientific Committee on Occupational Exposure Limits). [Wood dust exposure: the SCOEL evaluation]. In: Proceedings of the Meeting “Polveri di legno: salute e sicurezza” [Wood dust: health and safety] (CIMAL ed). Milan (Italy) 16 May 2008, pp. 978-988. [in Italian]
Glindmeyer HW, Rando RJ, Lefante JJ, Freyder L, Brisolara JA, Jones RN (2008)
Longitudinal respiratory health study of the wood processing industry. American Journal of Industrial Medicine 51: 595-609.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Harper M, Akbar MZ, Andrew ME (2004)
Comparison of wood-dust aerosol size-distributions collected by air samplers. Journal of Environmental Monitoring 1: 18-22.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Hausen BM (1981)
Wood injurious to human health: a manual. Walter de Gruyter ed., Berlin, Germany, pp. 189.
Hessel P, Herbert F, Melenka LS, Yoshida K, Michaelchuk D, Nakaza M (1995)
Lung health in sawmill workers exposed to pine and spruce. Chest 108 (3): 642-646.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Holness DL, Sass-Kortsak AM, Pilger CW, Nethercott JR (1985)
Respiratory function and exposure-effect relationships in wood dust-exposed and control workers. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 7: 501-506.
Horvat D (2005)
Research of fir-wood dust concentration in the working environment of cutters. Croatian Journal of Forest Engineering 2: 85-90.
IARC (1995)
IARC monographs on the evaluation of carcinogenic risks to human. Wood dust and formaldehyde. IARC Press, Lyon, France, pp. 35-216.
ILO (1983)
Woods. Encyclopaedia of Occupational Health and Safety. International Labour Organization, Geneva, Switzerland, pp. 2308-2316.
INFC (2005)
Inventario Nazionale delle Foreste e dei Serbatoi Forestali di Carbonio [National Inventory of Forests and Carbon pools]. Web Site. [in Italian]
Online | Gscholar
Innocenti A (2008)
Effetti sulla salute delle polveri di legno: la funzione respiratoria [Health effects of wood dust: the respiratory function]. In: Proceedings of the Meeting “Polveri di legno: salute e sicurezza” [Wood dust: health and safety] (CIMAL ed). Milan (Italy) 16 May 2008, pp. 27-35. [in Italian]
Innocenti A, Del Monaco S (1980)
Patologia dovuta a polveri di legno. Contributi scientifico-pratici per una migliore conoscenza del legno n. 27 [Disease due to wood dust. Scientific practical contributions to a better understanding of wood n. 27]. CNR Istituto del Legno, Florence, Italy, pp. 64. [in Italian]
ISO (1995)
7708 - Air quality - Particle size fraction definitions for health-related sampling. International Organization for Standarization, Geneva, Switzerland, pp. 9.
Jazbec A, Zečić Z, Horvat D, Šušnjar M, Cavlović A O (2007)
Tree cutters’ exposure to oakwood dust - a case study in Croatia. Die Bodenkultur 4: 59-65.
Kalatoor S, Grinshpun SA, Willeke K, Baron P (1995)
New aerosol sampler with low wind sensitivity and good filter collection uniformity. Atmospheric Environment 10: 1105-1112.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Kauffer E, Wrobel R, Gorner P, Rott C, Grzebyk M, Simon X, Witschger O (2010)
Site Comparison of Selected Aerosol Samplers in the Wood Industry. Annals of Occupational Hygiene 2: 188-203.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Klein RG, Schmezer P, Amelung F, Schroeder HG, Woeste W, Wolf J (2001)
Carcinogenicity assays of wood dust and wood additives in rats exposed by long-term inhalation. International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health 2: 109-118.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Kubel H, Weiflmann G (1988)
Untersuchungen zur Cancerogenit it von Holzstaub [Studies on the Carcinogenicity od wood dust]. Holz als Roh und Werkstoff 46: 215-20.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Lee T, Harper M, Slaven JE, Lee K, Rando RJ, Maples EH (2011)
Wood dust sampling: field evaluation of personal samplers when large particles are present. Annals of Occupational Hygiene 2: 180-191.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Li D, Yuan L, Yi S, Jiang Z (1990)
Effects of wood dust exposure on respiratory health: Cross-sectional study among farmers exposed to wood dust. American Journal of Industrial Medicine 1: 84-85.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Lindroos O, Burström L (2010)
Accident rates and types among self-employed private forest owners. Accident Analysis and Prevention 6: 1729-1735.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Liou SH, Cheng SY, Lai FM, Yang JL (1996)
Respiratory symptoms and pulmonary function in mill workers exposed to wood dust. American Journal of Industrial Medicine 3: 293-299.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Magagnotti N, Nannicini C, Sciarra G, Spinelli R, Volpi D (2013)
Determining the exposure of chipper operators to inhalable wood dust. The Annals of Occupational Hygiene 6: 784-792.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Malo J, Cartier A, Desjardins A, Weyer RV, Vandenplas O (1995)
Occupational asthma caused by oak wood dust. Chest 3: 856-858.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Mitchell D (2011)
Air quality on biomass harvesting operations. In: Proceedings of the “34th Council on Forest Engineering annual meeting”, Quebec City (Quebec, Canada) 12-15 Jun 2011, pp. 9.
Online | Gscholar
Montorselli NB, Lombardini C, Magagnotti N, Marchi E, Neri F, Picchi G, Spinelli R (2010)
Relating safety, productivity and company type for motor-manual logging operations in the Italian Alps. Accident Analysis and Prevention 6: 2013-2017.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Neitzel R, Yost M (2002)
Task-based assessment of occupational vibration and noise exposures in forestry workers. AIHA Journal 5: 617-627.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Picchio R, Blasi S, Sirna A (2010)
Survey on mechanization and safety evolution in forest works in Italy. In: Proceedings of the “International Conference Ragusa SHWA2010”. Ragusa (Italy) 16-18 Sep 2010. University of Catania, Catania, Italy, pp. 173-180.
Pisaniello DL, Connell KE, Muriale L (1991)
Wood dust exposure during furniture manufacture, results from an Australian survey and considerations for threshold limit value development. American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal 11: 485-492.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Pisati G, Cirla AM, Zedda S (1982)
Asma allergologico da esposizione professionale a polveri di legno non esotico (Faggio). Considerazioni di un caso clinico [Asthma allergy from occupational exposure to non- exotic wood dust (beech). Considerations of a clinical case]. In: Proceedings of the Conference “Infortuni e malattie professionali nel settore del legno e del mobile” [Occupational accidents and diseases in the wood industry and furniture industry]. OECE, Siena, (Italy), pp. 472-478.
Puntarić D, Kos A, Šmit Z, Zečić Z, Šega K, Beljo-Lučić R, Dubravko H, Bošnir J (2005)
Wood dust exposure in wood industry and forestry. Collegium antropologicum 29: 207-211
SCOEL (2003)
Recommendation from the scientific committee on occupational exposure limits: risk assessment for wood dust (SCOEL/ SUM/102). European Commission on Occupational Exposure Limits for Chemicals in the Workplace, Bruxelles, Belgium, pp. 36,
Online | Gscholar
Senear FE (1933)
Dermatitis due to woods. Journal of American Medicine Association 101: 1527-1532.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Shamssain MH (1992)
Pulmonary function and symptoms in workers exposed to wood dust. Thorax 2: 84-87.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Spinelli R, Magagnotti N, Nati C (2009)
Options for the mechanized processing of hardwood trees in Mediterranean forests. International Journal of Forest Engineering 1: 39-44.
Tsioras P, Rottensteiner C, Stampfer K (2011)
Analysis of accidents during cable yarding operations in Austria 1998-2008. Croatian Journal of Forest Engineering 2: 549-560.
Vusić D, Šušnjar M, Marchi E, Spina R, Zečić Z, Picchio R (2013)
Skidding operations in thinning and shelterwood cut of mixed stands - Work productivity, energy inputs and emissions. Ecological Engineering 61: 216-223.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Wang J, Bell JL, Grushecky ST (2003)
Logging injuries for a 10-year period in Jilin Province of the People’s Republic of China. Journal of Safety Research 3: 273-279.
CrossRef | Gscholar
Woods B, Calnan CD (1976)
Toxic woods. British Journal of Dermatology 95: 1-97.
CrossRef | Gscholar

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. More info