Q & A - most commonly misunderstood ideas about Camphor (MCMI's)

1. All Camphor chests or Camphor glory boxes are good:
Yes, but homeowners, especially women or couples contemplating pregnancy, need to be careful not to breathe outpouring Camphor vapours arising from chests being re-filled etc. every day or every few days. Chests are best placed in hallways, not bedrooms.

2. Camphor furniture and breadboards are safe:
No, not necessarily! Camphor laurel bread cutting boards are definitely no good if made from unsurfaced Camphor laurel slabs, due to the toxicity threat of safrole (a carcinogen) and naphthalene (a fish poison). These are common toxins of Camphor bark and wood. Camphor laurel furniture made from the more toxic Camphor laurels is often too 'gawdy' for sale, or is cost priced too high to be affordable.

3. Camphor is a harmless compound or substance:
Definitely not! Camphor the molecule is a narcotic compound, one that is, like all narcotics, capable of being cumulatively absorbed into cells of soft bodied organs and organisms, slowly and consistently toxifying brain cells (eg frogs, Overton 2898); muscle cells that result in vomiting (eg birds, U.S. Burrows 2001); or liver and spleen tissue.

4. Camphor laurel timber and wood workers face no safety problems and the trees make superb manufactured products:
Surveys of North eastern New South Wales Camphor laurel, utilizing timber companies (1999-2002) prove that there is at least 40% of mills that will either no longer cut this tree's wood or will not manufacture any products from Camphor timber cured for less than 18 months duration. Employed timber workers express similar average percentages of concern.

5. Camphor laurels come from China, the Chinese have historically made things with camphor, therefore it must be GOOD:
Mainlander Chinese people now only coppice Camphor trees in pruned acreage on-scale, mechanically harvested and nowhere near waterways. The old Camphor trees have all been harvested away from their original habitats centuries ago, beyond 'sustainable harvesting' of the tree; Chinese Toxicologists and Exporters now warn by internet to be wary of the Camphor toxin.

6. Camphor doesn't and never has killed anyone, any wildlife, and kills no plants:
Wrong. The first professionally observed mass native pigeon death incident was around Bangalow in Byron Shire in Autumn (the most toxic season) in 1955, with thousands of many pigeon species dying. Children have died consuming green camphor berry. North of Mackay there are native Laurels (Lauraceae) with the active constituent Camphor in them, ie tropical Australian wildlife and flora may be 'immune' from Camphor toxification.

7. Camphor laurel is merely Cinnamomum camphora, a stable species:
No, it is in Australia, a hybrid combination of at least nine types, now fast adapting to global warming, due to two subspecies (Chinese and Japanese) crossing and freshly evolving with each new ten year generation. Camphors in Australia are especially unstable, due to both hybridization and global warming.

8. Camphor laurels provide the best shade in NSW on North Coast beef and dairy farms:
No. Photo surveys prove that Ficus spp. Native fig trees provide 20+% more shade.

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