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As pointed out by the authors, the ultimate carcinogen in the
occupational wood dust exposure is not known. It has been known that
hardwood dust particles are much more harmful than those from softwood
sources. Tannins are versatile markers for hardwood species (1) and their
presence e.g. in the nasal lavage liquid can be used to quantitatively
monitor the dust burden at the target site (2).
Shoemakers are another occupational group in an elevated risk for
sinonasal adenocarcinoma. The common factor could be the use of plant
tannins in the leather treatment. The leather dust tannin content in 24
shops in Lausanne corresponded to that of cherry tree dust (1).
1 Bianco MA, Savolainen H. Woodworkers´ exposure to tannins. J Appl
Toxicol. 1994; 14: 293-295.
2 Mämmelä P, Tuomainen A, Vartiainen T, et al. Biological monitoring
of wood dust exposure in nasal lavage by high-performance liquid
chromatography. J Environ Monit. 2002; 4: 187-189.