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decking wood

Bill & Bob
July 18th, 2004, 07:26 PM
So, I did find something through my work that is contributory to this site. So, Bob and my friend and I are putting together a deck this week. Bob is down on the ground loafing about as usual, when my friend notices him chewing on some of the cutoffs of the treated decking wood we were using. He yelled at Bob to stop and was pretty firm about it. Not being sure what was up, I asked him what the problem was. He told me that treated cedar has arsenic in it and that the dog can get really sick and maybe die from it if it's been treated recently. The stuff we were using was pretty fresh from being treated because when we were drilling pilot holes for the screws, this green liquid would squeeze out. Not very nice. Anyhoo, Bob was fine but it's certainly something I have to be aware of from now on.

There ya have it. After being away for a while, I can still throw some cards on the table. Anyone who's having outdoor fencing or decks being built, don't let your poochies chew on the wood waste. As much as they love to chew, they could get really ill.

But nobody can tell me why they have to use arsenic in the wood. Weird.

July 18th, 2004, 07:42 PM
What's bad about pressure-treated wood?
In the pressure-treating process, lumber is sealed in a tank, and air is extracted, creating a vacuum. Then a solution containing chromium, copper, and arsenic is added. Because of the vacuum, the chemicals are carried deep into the wood. Chromium is a bactericide, copper a fungicide, and arsenic an insecticide, and all arrest decay of some kind. All three are toxic, but chromium and copper don't raise many concerns. If we don't inhale it, chromium is not particularly harmful to us, and copper isn't very toxic to mammals, although it is to aquatic life and fungi. It's arsenic that is worrisome.

July 18th, 2004, 07:45 PM
Nearly 40 million lb. of arsenic is used in this country every year, and most of it goes into the pressure-treated wood that we use to build decks and playgrounds. But that all changes Jan. 1, 2004. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is banning chromated copper arsenate (CCA) as a preservative for wood intended for residential use (except for the lumber that is used in permanent wood foundations). CCA-treated lumber will still be available for industrial and agricultural use, however.

By the way, there's no need to panic about existing CCA-treated structures. The EPA says that they're fine. But if you're nervous about the chances of leaching chromium and arsenic, you can make your deck or swing set safer by coating it with an oil-based penetrating stain every couple of years.

July 18th, 2004, 07:51 PM
CCA pressure-treated wood contains arsenic which can be released from the wood when the wood is burned, through mechanical abrasion (like sanding or sawing), direct contact and when acid contacts the treated lumber. See the 'CCA Wood' tab to the left for more information.
Incineration of CCA pressure treated wood does not destroy arsenic. It is illegal to burn CCA wood in all 50 states. Some countries in Europe have banned CCA wood and its use is being reviewed by the whole European Union. It is incredible, but a single 12 foot 2 x 6 contains about 27 grams of Arsenic - enough arsenic to kill more than 200 adults. A tablespoon (about 20 grams) of CCA wood ash has enough arsenic to kill an adult human.
To add to that, CCA wood ash tastes salty, and is a natural attractant to animals and livestock. 5 Tablespoons of this are enough to kill an 1100 pound cow, and this has already happened. Jim and Peggy Janson of Sauk Rapids, Minnesota had their dairy herd of 18 Holstein cows die after breaking down a neighbors' fence and eating salty CCA ash. State investigators determined that the cows found a pile of CCA wood ash which had been illegally dumped and they died from arsenic poisoning four days after ingestion of the ash.
This same effect could be expected on household pets and wildlife, such as deer.
Actually the saw dust from cutting pressure treated wood is more dangerous since it is airborne and will quickly lodge in the air passages of the lungs.
We no longer use Pressure treated lumber for code construction.

July 18th, 2004, 08:10 PM
There is wood now being pressure treated in Canada w/o arsenic.

In my region ALL childrens playgrounds made with pressure treated wood (with arsenic) were taken down.

There are enough pollutants in our food, water, air...doing without the extra chemicals to make us ill is fine by me!

Great point Bill :D

Haven't seen u around in awhile....nice to have u back!