Treated Wood Safety

Common Sense Safety Precautions

The following precautions should be taken both when handling the preserved wood and in determining where to use and dispose of it. Many of these precautions also apply to untreated wood and other building materials.

Use Site Precautions

  • All sawdust and construction debris should be cleaned up and disposed of after construction.
  • Do not use treated wood under circumstances where the preservative may become a component of food or animal feed. Examples are mulch from recycled treated wood, cutting boards, counter tops, animal bedding, and structures or containers for storing animal feed or human food.
  • Only treated wood that is visibly clean and free of surface residue should be used where contact is likely.
  • Do not use treated wood for construction of those portions of beehives which may come into contact with honey.
  • Treated wood should not be used where it may come into direct or indirect contact with drinking water, except for uses involving incidental contact such as docks or bridges.

Handling Precautions

  • Dispose of treated wood by ordinary trash collection. TREATED WOOD SHOULD NOT BE BURNED in open fires or in stoves, fireplaces or residential boilers because toxic substances may be produced as part of the smoke and ashes. Treated wood from commercial or industrial use (e.g., construction sites) may be disposed of by complying with local landfill rules or burned in commercial or industrial incinerators or boilers when done in accordance with state and federal regulations.
  • Avoid frequent or prolonged inhalation of sawdust from wood, treated or untreated. When sawing, sanding, and machining wood, wear a dust mask. Whenever possible, these operations should be performed outdoors to avoid indoor accumulations or airborne sawdust.
  • When power-sawing and machining, wear goggles to protect eyes from flying particles.
  • Wear gloves when working with wood. Use proper techniques when lifting. After working with wood, and before eating, drinking, toileting, and use of tobacco products, wash exposed areas thoroughly.
  • Because preservatives or sawdust may accumulate on clothes, they should be laundered before reuse. Wash work clothes separately from other household clothing.
  • Note: The active ingredients in copper azole are copper, tebuconazole and propiconazole.

Safety Study

A comprehensive study of occupational, residential, and playground uses of wood pressure-treated with copper azole preservative has concluded, “no adverse health effects are expected.” The study was commissioned by Bayer Chemicals Corporation (now Lanxess Corporation) and conducted by Gradient Corporation, a noted environmental and toxicological consulting firm. Lanxess manufactures Preventol® A8, which is an azole fungicide used in the copper azole preservative. A number of different exposures (e.g., inhalation, incidental ingestion, exposure to the skin) were assessed and aggregated in each of these scenarios. The highest potential risk was estimated to be 17 times lower than the level that the EPA uses as a safety benchmark, thus demonstrating the safety of copper azole-treated wood. Read the report summary (PDF).

Source: http://www.wolmanized.com/tips-safety/handling-tips.aspx, 8/29/2014

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