Camphor laurel toxicity to humans

The classic pharmaceutic textbook in the English language, known as Martindale in all its recent editions of the 1990s, states clearly that camphor oil, and camphor blocks, but oil especially, can kill infants and young humans, although the active constituent most likely tc cause this and other serious impacts is not identified, but is presumed to be largely an overdose of the molecule camphor which is known to sublimate as a pure crystal in distilled camphor oil.

The latest Martindale (31, 2001) reveals that all camphor-containing liniments, sports medicines and massage oils are now banned in the UK and USA. Australia still allows imports of several liniments which list "camphor stems" in their contents.

Notable Queensland author on poisonous plants in Australia, Sally Wilson emphasises that "all parts" of Camphor Laurel trees are "extremely poisonous if ingested" by humans or other mammals; see in her text: 'Some Plants are Poisonous" (Wilson 1997, Reed Books, Melbourne)

A Lecturer in Botany at the University of Sydney (1999) who came from New Zealand, where there is negligible/zero Camphor Laurel, quickly became allergic, with serious skin- rash complaints, and breathing difficulty from sustained field-work under Camphor tree canopies in the Sydney region. He can no longer do professional fieldwork under or near the species, thus implying /helping to explain why so little Botanical research on Camphor toxicity exists in English-published scientific literature.

In Adelaide suburbs, Camphor Laurel planted there in the 1980s was soon removed after it was proved that local children suffered from serious skin-rashes during and after playing under the young (up to 5 yr. old, 4ms max ht.) Camphor Laurel trees sold-on by Melbourne nurseries known to have secured seed and seedlings from known locations of 'toxic hybrid' chemotypes of Camphor seriously infesting the hinterland of Mullumbimby in northern New South Wales.

Results Of A Survey Of NSW Northern Rivers Naturopaths and Outlets
During 2000-2001 an in-person and telephone survey of a representative range of clinicians, naturopaths, herbal medicine experts, and those dispensing 'Chinese medicines', found that there is NO SIGNIFICANT DEMAND for camphor products, as in oil or scents from the Camphor Laurel trees, and that it is rarely if ever prescribed whatsoever; only in the case of 'Tiger Balm' do certain shops market any product containing camphor, for which at least two cases of known skin allergy/rashes or hypersenitivity were reported.

Camphor products are known to be so likely to be toxic to the skin of at least 5% of clients that the Federal Government (T.G.A.) has issued warnings about products known to contain camphor, and there is extreme variation in the constituents/likely contaminant molecular constituents of Camphor products due to wide variation in the tree population/s. (Confirmed first by Hiraizumi 1950) in Taiwan, East Asia, and Australia.

Prior Survey Of Camphor Wood Millers and Woodturners (1998)
A telephone survey of existing woodmillers, and some reported to have historically 'closed' [ due to Camphor toxicity problems, revealed that more than 50% of mill workers cutting, slabbing or manufacturing with Camphor Laurel wood suffered mild-to-serious skin and mucous membrane afflictions due to 'the vapourous fumes' arising from green-wood, and in some cases (= certain tree chemotypes/with predisposed individuals) by dry-cured Camphor Laurel wood cut in NSW Northern Rivers region/districts. Indeed, one timber mill, previously located at Tumbulgum, had closed-down due to too many workers striking over having to use freshly cut Camphor trees (ca. 1980-1990). mucous membrane afflictions due to 'the vapourous fumes' arising from green-wood, and in some cases (= certain tree chemotypes/with predisposed individuals) by dry-cured Camphor Laurel wood cut in NSW Northern Rivers region/districts. Indeed, one timber mill, previously located at Tumbulgum, had closed-down due to too many workers striking over having to use freshly cut Camphor trees (ca. 1980-1990). mucous membrane afflictions due to 'the vapourous fumes' arising from green-wood, and in some cases (= certain tree chemotypes/with predisposed individuals) by dry-cured Camphor Laurel wood cut in NSW Northern Rivers region/districts. Indeed, one timber mill, previously located at Tumbulgum, had closed-down due to too many workers striking over having to use freshly cut Camphor trees (ca. 1980-1990).

A preliminary Survey of hobby and professional woodturners showed that no more than 50% of 25 interviewed were positive about Camphor Laurel wood, and its fine working quality/ies, but those who have finally discovered that its wood, shavings, and sawdust are mostly toxic to breathe do so the hard way!! This seems principally because the Camphor & timber industry in general do not publish information about the relative toxicities of timbers grown and cut in Australian conditions.

Survey Of Chinese Medicine Texts Whereas Australians widely believe that Camphor Laurels 'come from China' and are in wide use for wooden-chest making, and as a complementary medicine, a survey of available texts about 'Chinese herbs', and medicines prescribed by Chinese herbalists, PROVES THE OPPOSITE: camphor is NOT IN USE, nor is Camphor Laurel mentioned in any one text!
ASSUMPTION; The Camphor toxins are purely and simply profound pesticides.

A Taiwanese report on safrole toxicity