Q. My son is building a lake home using cedar lumber cut less than a year ago. Only air-dried, the cedar is still very aromatic. Is there any chance of harm from breathing this pungent cedar aroma? Arthur E. Hafner Duluth, Minn.
A. Because the odor of cedar is obnoxious to some insects, it is often used to line wardrobes and closets, as you know. The cedar resin exuding from the wood vaporizes.
To our knowledge, however, there is no risk involved in breathing the pungent aroma of cedar. True, the scent may offend or irritate some folks, but be assured, the fragrance inside your son's new cedar home will wane with age.
There are several types of cedar, some more aromatic than others. Likely the coniferous evergreen species used in your son's house is less pungent than the Tennessee cedar that's used primarily in wardrobes and closets.
Cedar of Lebanon was used by Solomon in building his temple with no deleterious effect from the aroma, I'll wager.