Allergic reaction to big box store? - Router Forums
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-06-2018, 07:03 PM Thread Starter
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Default Allergic reaction to big box store?

Despite the humorous title, this isn't a joke... it's a strange experience unlike any I've had before.

I made a trip to Lowes today for a few parts... two boxes of screws, a course sanding sponge, a redwood 2x4x8', two spf 2x4x10's and one x12'... in that order.

The 12 footers were rough today, lots of end check, warped, and twisted boards. When projects require, it can be a challenge selecting framing lumber like hardwood...

As I was picking through the 12 footers I noticed that my lower back, sides, and abdomen were itching... then more... then more. Struggling to focus and feeling like a million ants eating my skin from the inside, I thought, "If I can just focus and get this done then I'll deal with whatever it is."

At the register I noticed that my 12 footer had a showstopper flaw that I'd missed. I had to escape, so I told the cashier to ring up the rest while I put that piece back on the rack. I'd get another 12 footer another time. I paid. I left. I loaded the vehicle.

And I paused for a good scratch.

My wife, who'd patiently waited with my daughter, asked what I was doing and I calmly told her I was contemplating skinning myself alive while I figured out what I was reacting to.

Fortunately, the irritation quickly faded. We grabbed a burger and sat down to enjoy each other's company, and then I stopped at Home Depot to buy my last required 2x4x12. (Nope, not going back to Lowes today.) By the time we left Home Depot there was no itching and I felt fine. I may have been fine even before we finished eating.

Arriving home, I unloaded everything into the garage, then went to work shoveling snow from the sidewalks. Somewhere in that process the itching began again, every bit as bad as before.

Now I'm wondering if I was reacting to Lowes... to the specific lumber - and thus the recurrence when I unloaded... or to something I haven't thought of. I hadn't eaten anything before I left and there was nothing unusual in my routine.

I'm a little concerned about building that lumber into shop equipment and becoming allergic to my shop, so when I'm fine again I may have to go handle the lumber a bit and see if the reaction recurs... before I start building with it.

-Ashley
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-06-2018, 07:15 PM
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Ashley , I was expecting you to tell us that you found fire ants in the board , but I’m thinking this is more like a clairvoyance experience lol.

At the very least ,I would go back and see if you can duplicate it

I don’t always insulate , but when I do .
Ok ,I never insulate

Last edited by RainMan 2.0; 01-06-2018 at 07:21 PM.
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-06-2018, 07:28 PM
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the boards may have been chemically treated for insect control...

This would have been the week that I'd have finished chewing thru the restraints...
If only new layers hadn't been added....

Stick....
Forget the primal scream, just ROAR!!!
"SNORK Mountain Congressional Library and Taxidermy”
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-06-2018, 09:27 PM
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Redwood is related to red cedar and some people are especially sensitive to it. The sawdust from has prematurely ended some logging and sawmilling careers. My uncle was one of the logging casualties.

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-06-2018, 10:45 PM
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Do you have a rash, Ashley? You might want to take this seriously...
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-...s/syc-20353054
From all I've heard, really unpleasant; I think Tom may have a few words(?).
Hoping for your sake it isn't.
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-06-2018, 11:11 PM
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what the library has...
Attached Files
File Type: pdf TOXIC WOODS CHART.pdf (362.4 KB, 79 views)
File Type: pdf toxic_woods.pdf (156.8 KB, 120 views)
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This would have been the week that I'd have finished chewing thru the restraints...
If only new layers hadn't been added....

Stick....
Forget the primal scream, just ROAR!!!
"SNORK Mountain Congressional Library and Taxidermy”
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-07-2018, 01:41 AM
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Yep, I would say it was caused by one of the woods you bought. Not sure just how you would check as to what type, but if you find out I would definitely suggest you stay away from that wood in the future.
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-07-2018, 09:30 AM
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Yes you can react to certain species of wood. Different wood for different people. I had a friend (who happened to be a allergy specialist (MD) who broke out while turning a spindle for a chair.
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-07-2018, 09:30 AM Thread Starter
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A few hours after I posted that message, I was fine. I decided to wait 24 hours and stay away from the garage and the wood to eliminate that variable while giving things a chance to either fade or recur. Assuming all is well, I'll go out later today and visit the wood to see if it triggers a recurrence.

I have difficulty believing it's the wood, since I've handled 2x4's so many times before. Although my frequency with redwood is lower, it's certainly not a new item either. Just a couple months ago I made a magnetic knife strip with redwood. So I suspect it's something *on* the wood.

Anyway, my plan is a series of garage visits, handle things in the following sequence, with a significant delay between them to allow for reaction...
1. First visit, handle 2x4x10's that I purchased at Lowes... then wait for reaction
2. Second visit, handle redwood 2x4x8' that I purchased at Lowes... then wait for reaction
3. Third visit, open the bag with screws and sanding sponge from Lowes... and that's everything from yesterday's Lowes visit.
4. If no response then... I'll be puzzled, but perhaps grateful.

-Ashley
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-07-2018, 10:31 AM
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You had a case of hives. I worked in the forest as a logger for 20 years and was unaffected by anything there. Then about 15 ago I walked through a bunch of short spruce that were close together and they rubbed my bare arms. A few minutes later I had the same reaction you did. It felt like ants were crawling all over my arms. In about 30-45 minutes it went away. I have a juniper bush in my yard that also does it to me and if I pull weeds for a while I get it to a lesser extent.

I've heard that maybe an anti-histamine will help but by the time it takes affect most of the itching is gone already. Maybe if I can find a topical one that might work faster.

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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