View Full Version : Blocked nose from using laser

Mark Ward
09-24-2014, 6:23 AM
For a few months now my nose (on my face, not the nose cone on my machine) has been blocked and stuffed up where as previously it never used to be.
I'm trying to figure out if this is likely to be down to using our laser.
We pretty much stick to cutting and engraving wood that we get direct from Trotec. We have an Atmos for extraction but the lasre itself is in a fairly small room with no window.
Is the cause of ym stuffy nose likely to be as a result of the laser cutting and engraving do we think. I had previously been to the doctors a month ago who gave me a nasal spray incase it was a bit of hayfeaver (I never really get that), but although it has helped make it slightly clearer it's still constantly needing to be blown.

Anyone else had this as a result of using their laser?

Mike Null
09-24-2014, 9:21 AM

Your experience is the first I've heard of in many years on laser forums. I would doubt that the laser process is your problem.

On the other hand, when I'm working in my wood shop I wear a dust mask or my nose and throat give me fits. Walnut is particularly nasty wood dust for me.

Steve Morris
09-24-2014, 10:23 AM
Not heard of that before but if you are in a small closed room the air is probably getting quite dry which may be making your body work overtime to keep your nasal passages moist.


If its recycled air there may still be small particles getting through

Don't blame me I'm not a doctor :)

Mike Chance in Iowa
09-24-2014, 11:28 AM
It's totally possible it could be something the laser is causing, but I first would look at other factors instead of the laser being the actual issue. 1. There is something in that room that is causing it. Did you spend much time in that room prior to the laser? (Even if you did and it wasn't an issue before, you are doing different activities now in that room which has stirred things up in there.) 2. You have an intolerance or allergy to a certain species of wood or sealant used on the wood.

David Somers
09-24-2014, 12:14 PM
Any woodworker with some experience will tell you that wood dust and contact with some wood can cause you to develop sensitivity to it over time. Like Mike Null mentioned, some species are worse than others. Walnut is bad. In Hawaii Mango often does it, etc. You can actually develop an allergy to it, either respiratory or a form of contact dermatitis that is really annoying, and for a few people the allergy can become life threatening. A good friend and fellow wood turner in Hawaii developed a severe allergy to Mango and he was faced with having to stop using it. Instead he started using a powered full face mask respirator and wearing a tyvec exposure suit to protect this skin. It worked, but is pretty annoying. But at least he can continue working with a wood he loves using.

Any way you could do a test by routing your air hose outside by snaking the hose through an adjacent room to a window somehow rather than relying on a filter that filters back into the room air? It might take a week or two for this test to show results. Or...another simple way to test would be to go down to a good hardware store and get a good fitting respirator with a VOC filter on it. Don't rely on a paper mask or the real cheap ones. They are next to worthless. Get a good fitting cannister mask with an appropriate filter for Volatile Organic Compounds or VOC and particulates. Wear that whenever you are in that room and see if there is a significant change in irritation. If there is at least you have a solution. Though I have to admit I hate wearing those masks long term. Personally I use a powered positive pressure full face mask/filter at the lathe and it is much more comfortable, as well as protecting my face from wood that can break free without warning.

That doesnt actually tell you if it is the laser of course. You are filtering everything from the room by doing this. You still dont know if it is a mold or mildew that has developed there? Or a compound in the carpet that has started being released at this point in the carpet's age, or wall paint off gassing, etc. That was why I suggested running the hose from the laser directly outdoors for a while if at all possible. If that worked then you would know it was the materials you were lasing and could perhaps vent that hose through the wall directly since you have no windows.

Good luck!


Ernie Balch
09-24-2014, 5:17 PM
I know a person that reacted to the laser ablation products from drilling a few .001" holes in .001" kapton films for flex circuits. The UV laser system had a good exhaust and was located in a cleanroom environment No visible smoke or particles were ever seen but she could not come near the laser without having severe breathing problems. Another thing to check is gluten sensitivity. I get symptoms like you describe when ever I eat any wheat containing food. It took me 50 years to finally figure out that I was gluten sensitive. Both of my kids have the same problem and they went gluten free as teens. We have experimented with eating bread again and every time the symptoms come back.

David Somers
09-24-2014, 6:02 PM

Gluten free plywood for the laser? <friendly grin>


AL Ursich
09-24-2014, 8:03 PM
I see your in the UK and wondered about Rain and Humidity causing MOLD someplace in your walls or house and the Laser Exhaust is drawing the Mold Spores into your work area?

Do you have a Fresh Air supply pipe? And any chance you are backdrafting a heating or hot water exhaust system?

Mayo Pardo
09-25-2014, 2:39 AM
How old is your Atmos system? How much work have you done since the last time you changed out the filter materials in it?

Mark Ward
09-25-2014, 6:29 PM
Thanks for the replies guys, plenty there for me to think on and act on to see if I can sort it.
The laser is actually in a partitioned part at the back of the garage with the Atmos in the main garage area with the pipe going through the stud wall we had put in.
Having not previously spent lots of time in the garage prior to the laser then as has been pointed out then this could well be part to do with it as it is a change of environment for me although I guess still not a huge length of time is spend in there, it probably could do with some better fresh air coming into it as although the garage door will open it is not always feasible to have it constantly open.
I will check around for any mould, never seen any before but good suggesion.

With regards to the Atmos, it is still on it's first filter box and first set of carbon, neither is full (only received it around March time so have slowly been building the business up since then).

Dave, with regards to your suggestion to run the hose right outside how would that work with it not being connected to the Atmos. I thoughts it waa the Atmos that did the "sucking" to extract form the laser?

Chuck Stone
09-25-2014, 6:59 PM
I know that if the hose pops off of the air extractor I'll get stuffy when cutting
plywood. I think it is the formaldehyde in the glue, but who knows? (but that's
what it 'feels' like in my sinuses) Definitely agree with checking for mold
and other things that may be hiding in the shop, but it might be a good idea to
check the exhaust, too. You might check with a local HVAC repair center and
see if they'll bring a smoke generator. They use them to test for leaks in the
evaporation or air conditioning system. Having a bright colored smoke makes
it much easier to see if you have a problem with the exhaust.
Or maybe you can rent one? Dunno..