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  • HOW SAFE IS PRESSURE TREATED WOOD?

    Posted on April 6th, 2011 Pam 1 comment

    I bought some pressure treated wood from a local store to build garden cold frames and greenhouses. But was a little worried about how safe the treated wood would be to plants and soil. Pressure treated wood is treated to keep it from rotting and protect it from fungus, moisture, insects and microbial agents. Treated wood will not decay for long periods of time.
    So I made a few phone calls and checked on the Internet for more information. I also called commercial greenhouses, the Bonneville county agent and Home Depot. This is what I found out.

    1. Treated railroad ties should NEVER be used in gardening, they contain coal tar creosote, it is the most widely used preservative for wood. Creosote has been banned for several years. Railroad ties should only be used by professionals because they will leach out and contaminate the soil.
    2. CCA pressure treated wood has been injected or soaked with chromate copper arsenate, or chromium, copper and ARSENIC. It should NEVER be used in a garden setting, it will also leach out and contaminate plants and soil. CCA treated wood was discontinued in 2003, but because it doesn’t decay, it can still be found.
    3. The pressure treated lumber I purchased is treated with CAC, which has no arsenic in it. It has more copper, which has the same result as far as preventing pests and decay. It is totally safe as far as being placed next to plants and soil.
    4. Pressure treated wood first began in 1930s. Pressure treated wood is said to last a lifetime.
    5. Collect all sawdust and throw it away, do not burn any type of pressure treated wood!!!!!!
    6. Always use gloves when handling treated wood, slivers can cause nasty infections.