Safety of Pressure-Treated Wood
Category: Health > Children
Asked by: pressurewood-ga
List Price: $5.00
01 Jul 2006 18:19 PDT
Expires: 31 Jul 2006 18:19 PDT
Question ID: 742712
Will painting pressure-treated wood make it safer for children? We bought the pressure-treated wood at Lowes Home Improvement Store this month and are building a deck. We have an 8 month old baby who is learning to crawl. Will painting it make it safe for her to crawl on it?
Re: Safety of Pressure-Treated Wood
Answered By: eiffel-ga on 02 Jul 2006 12:38 PDT
Hi pressurewood-ga, Pressure-treated wood provides an economical way to obtain durable timber for outdoor construction. However, the chemicals used in the treatment are harmful. "Arsenic is a component in the most prevalent wood preservative formulation in use. This formulation is known as CCA, which stands for chromated copper arsenic. Deep penetration of the water borne formulation is achieved by application under high pressure. The most common formulation results in a wood concentration of the Cr, Cu, and As of between 0.1-0.2%" Arsenic in Pressure Treated Wood http://www.caes.state.ct.us/PlantScienceDay/1999PSD/arsenic99.htm The above quote is from a report by the Department of Analytical Chemistry of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. From the same article: "Studies have shown that virtually no inorganic arsenic is absorbed through the skin, but is readily taken up by ingestion. Thus, the potential exposure is hand to mouth, and therefore, children are considered the most vulnerable to this potential risk." The same Department also tested various barrier treatments, and found a reduction of more than 95% in the arsenic dislodged from the CCA wood surfaces when coated with polyurethane deck and porch enamel, latex acrylic solid color stain, or spar varnish. Oil-based products averaged around 90% reduction. The report recommends coating existing treated timber, and also advises to keep pets and animals out of under-deck areas, because chemicals that have leached out of the timber tend to build up in the soil. Other groups give similar advice: "Seal arsenic-treated wood structures every year with polyurethane or other hard lacquer. Don't let children eat at arsenic-treated picnic tables, or at least cover the table with a coated tablecloth. Make sure children wash their hands after playing on arsenic- treated surfaces, particularly before eating." Poisoned Playgrounds - Arsenic Treated Wood http://www.ewg.org/reports/poisonedplaygrounds/ "Seal wood structures every year with polyurethane or another hard lacquer" Ottawa Stops buying Pressure Treated Wood http://www.cbc.ca/story/news/national/2002/03/11/Consumers/Ottawawood_020311.html "The Environmental Working Group ... recommends sealing wood structures every year with polyurethane or another hard lacquer." US Government to Restrict Pressure Treated Wood http://www.cbc.ca/story/news/national/2002/02/01/Consumers/arsenicwood_020201.html On a personal note, I built a treehouse for my kids using pressure-treated wood. After I discovered how toxic it was, I sealed it with outdoor-grade polyurethane deck treatment. In addition to providing a barrier between us and the poison, the polyurethane makes the wood look much nicer and feel much nicer. Regards, eiffel-ga
Re: Safety of Pressure-Treated Wood
From: jellybellyma-ga on 17 Jul 2006 20:57 PDT
Due to founded concerns about arsenic the EPA has banned the use of Arsenic in residential use. The new approved wood is called ACQ. Check your local lumberyards for availability. http://www.taunton.com/finehomebuilding/pages/h00127.asp 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). More copper makes the wood more expensive To make the new preservatives effective, their copper content has been boosted substantially -- from around 18% to 96% in some cases. Because ACQ and copper azole contain so much more copper, you can expect to pay from 15% to 35% more than you paid for CCA lumber. The cost varies because the amount of chemical treatment varies. CCA wasn't that expensive, so most CCA lumber was given a maximum dose of preservatives and rated for ground contact. http://www.bbslumber.com/products_arsenicfree.asp ACQ Preserve® Treated with ACQ®, an environmentally advanced copper and quat preservative system that is arsenic- and chromium-free. Provides long-term protection from rot, decay, and termites without the use of any EPA-listed hazardous chemicals ACQ pressure treated lumber is ideal for decks, fencing, and all kinds of outdoor building needs. ACQ was developed to provide long term protection against rot, decay and termite damage in above ground, ground contact, and fresh water applications. Unlike ordinary pressure treated wood (CCA), ACQ contains no arsenic, chromium, or other EPA-listed hazardous chemicals. ACQ was developed in response to a growing concern about the chemicals used in pressure treated lumber and their impact on the environment. more info also available at: www.greenresourcecenter.org/MaterialSheetsWord/AltTreatedWood.pdf
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