Can roadside lumber cause lead poisoning?
I obtained some logs from a busy roadside. Considering the age of the tree, it was present at the roadside when lead was still used in petrol in my area. Do you think there is a risk to get lead poisoning from the sawdust when I am processing the logs? I am doing it here at home. Anyone has info about this? Whether to worry or not?
I would not be worried about lead poisoning due to any uptake of vehicle combustion fumes.To put it in context, many farmers used to use leaded gasoline in their tractors and combines (those that did not use diesel). I do not ever recall anyone ever expressing any concern about lead poisoning from the vegetables grown with gasoline-powered farm equipment.

That said, there are many wood varieties that can cause respiratory irritation or can lead to allergic reactions for some people.

It is always a good idea to check the health hazard tables when working with a new-to-you wood variety.

Use a dust filter if the wood can induce respiratory allergies.

Extra precautions when dealing with green spalted wood are appropriate. A couple of professional woodturners who did guest presentations at our local club reported spending time in hospital due to fungal lung infections from turning spalted green wood.
"the most important safety feature on any tool is the one between your ears." - Ken Vick

A wish for you all:  May you keep buying green bananas.
Most big box home improvement stores sell lead detection kits. You can salvage one board and test it if you're that concerned. Unless someone poured gasoline on those boards, I wouldn't worry. After all, many of us drove cars burning leaded gas for decades, and it hasn't seemed to affect us.
Still Learning,

Allan Hill
I would be more concerned about nails in the wood than lead


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