Health effects of chlorophenol wood preservatives on sawmill workers

T. D. Sterling, L. D. Stoffman, David Sterling, G. Mate

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


At the request of the International Woodworkers of America, Local 1-85, woodworkers in two Port Alberni, British Columbia, sawmills were surveyed for health complaints possibly associated with chlorophenol exposure. On the basis of their exposure to anti-sapstain, workers were divided into low/moderate and high exposure groups. Health status was determined through a questionnaire that included lists of symptoms associated with exposure of chlorophenates and their contaminants. Extensive differences were found between exposure groups, especially in terms of the prevalence and extensiveness of symptoms related to dermatological, upper and general respiratory, and neurological structures and functions. Significant elevations of a wide range of other symptom complaints directly related to chemical exposure were also found. While improved spray control operations and the use of personal protective equipment will decrease injury among workers, they cannot be expected to decrease the hazards of chlorophenol exposure to an acceptable level. The only effective means of eliminating worker and public health risks attendant with these chemical exposures is to implement an alternative means of anti-sapstain treatment and to seek an end to the use of chlorophenol for this purpose.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)559-571
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Health Services
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1982


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