Last week I was attempting to polish up some badly oxidized aluminum parts with my Dremmel tool and a buffing wheel. A few hours later I experienced sever burning and pain in my sinus cavities. I thought initially I was coming down with one of those sudden colds. The next morning I found that while I didn't have a cold, I was in severe discomfort in my nasal passages. My nose even swelled up some and became painful to touch. I got to wondering about the polishing I had done the day before. I looked up the Material Safety Data Sheet for Aluminum Oxide and found that inhaling it was quite dangerous, and in a worst case scenario could lead to something called Shaver's Disease, lung dysfunction and right side heart failure.
I flushed out my nasal passages with warm mildly salted water and felt better right away, but several days later it is still tender and sore. I want to caution folks working like this and am curious if others have run into this.