I guess this means it is also harmful to pets? I have an enclosure I built
under my deck with a deer-proof mesh material (deck is 8' off the ground)
so they can go outdoors safely. So the arsenic seeps into the ground, is
that how it works?
Perhaps these will help you decide:
CCA-treated wood is supposed to have been phased out of the retail
stream by the end of 2003. Keeping it and its toxic components out of
the waste stream is a priority, so recycling in other projects is
recommended. Interior use isn't specifically prohibited -- keeping it
away from skin and human or animal water supplies is considered
essential, and it should never be burned. If sawing, use goggles and a
I did a fair amount of research before building my deck using CCA pressure
treated lumber and decided that it was wise to take precautions in handling
the wood, particularly where dust might be developed. I saw nothing though
that indicated that fumes could be a problem. Seems unlikely given the low
vapor pressures of the chemicals involved. And if there are concerns about
leaching, you can apply some of the common deck finishes to practically
eliminate that risk, as indicated by the following report of tests by the
Forest Products Laboratory:
Coatings Found to Greatly Reduce Leaching from CCA-Treated Wood--
Concerns have increased that arsenic pentoxide, chromium trioxide, or copper
oxide released from the surface of chromated copper arsenate (CCA)-treated
wood used in playground equipment and decks can harm people or the
environment. Although experts disagree on the severity of the threat posed
to children or other users of treated wood products, many consumers are
seeking methods to minimize any risk of chemical exposure. Coatings or
sealers are often recommended, but their efficacy in preventing leaching has
undergone little evaluation.
To address this question, researchers at the Forest Products Laboratory
(FPL) recently evaluated the ability of three common coatings to reduce
leaching from CCA-treated wood. Replicate matched specimens of treated 2 by
6 lumber were given one of the following coatings:(1) latex primer followed
by one coat of outdoor latex paint, (2) oil-based primer followed by one
coat of oil-based paint, or (3) two coats of a penetrating oil
semi-transparent deck stain. The specimens were then exposed to 30 inches of
artificial rainfall for 3 weeks. The water running off of the specimens was
collected and analyzed for preservative components.
The results were very promising. All three coatings reduced leaching of
arsenic pentoxide, chromium trioxide, and copper oxide by over 99% in
comparison to uncoated specimens. None of the water collected from specimens
coated with latex or oil-based paint contained any detectable copper,
chromium, or arsenic. In some cases, water collected from the specimens that
were coated with the penetrating oil stain did contain detectable levels,
but the highest level of arsenic detected in these samples was still well
below the EPA's drinking water standard. This study suggests that the
application of these common coatings is an excellent recommendation for
consumers who are worried about chemical exposure from CCA-treated wood.
[Source: Stan Lebow, Wood Preservation and Fire Research Work Unit, FPL)
I would use PT wood where it touches the floor in the basement, or the
likely place where it might get moisture and avoid it elsewhere.
Cutting PT makes dust that you should not inhale and PT slivers in the
skin are slow to heal. Keep looking for good premium grade
2x4's--you'll eventually find them. The arsenic compound stays in the
wood. Yes, avoid it on the interior wall.
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