Is Tung Oil Safe?

Tung oil is a popular finishing product for wood and an ingredient in paints, resins or floor coverings.

Significance

Used properly, tung oil usually does not pose a health or safety risk.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says that tung oil, applied properly and allowed to dry, is a safe finish for wooden bowls or other items that come in contact with food.

Precautions

Exercise fire safety precautions when using tung oil. Keep containers tightly closed and away from heat, sparks or flames. Discard rags or other materials soaked with the oil in a sealed, water-filled container.

Effects

Some people may suffer a skin rash after contact with tung oil. In rare cases, they might experience eye or respiratory irritation.

Hazards

Tung oil comes from the tung oil tree's seeds, which are poisonous. Eating tung oil or cooking food in tung oil can cause severe gastrointestinal problems, including stomach pain, diarrhea and vomiting.

Solution

People who get sick from ingesting tung oil need treatment to alleviate the gastrointestinal symptoms and to restore their fluid and electrolyte balance.

About the Author

Cameron Delaney is a freelance writer for trade journals and websites and an editor of nonfiction books. As a journalist, Delaney worked for wire services, newspapers and magazines for more than 20 years. Delaney's degrees include a bachelor's degree in journalism from Pennsylvania State and a master's degree in liberal arts from University of Denver.