Last year I followed a header that dealt with treated wood being used in
raised gardens. I became quite concerned when it was mentioned that
arsenic could leach out into the soil from treated lumber.
I've just replaced all my raised garden lumber with 'trek' lumber - a
plastic/wood product. I'm still very concerned about the arsenic problem
Will the arsenic leech out of the soil eventually or should I replace the
soil around the raised lumber? I'm hoping to plant root vegetables next to
the raised lumber....but I'm thinking that arsenic remains in the soil.
The treated lumber was in place for three years...
Does anybody have any advice, experience about this problem?
ANY comments would be very much appreciated. I'm a 'little' worried right
now as Spring-time planting is beginning here around Vancouver -
Thanks in advance..
If you're concerned about it, dig up a few small samples of soil and
send them to a lab. While you're at it, dig a sample from some place
that wasn't anywhere near the lumber. See if there is a difference.
In reality, though, the stuff that they put into the wood is designed to
stay there. If it leaches out, it won't protect the wood like it
should. Pressure treated lumber is generally guaranteed to last for
twenty years if buried. If the heavy metals tended to leach out, there
is no way the wood would last that long.
Still, get the tests done and let us know what you found :-)
Mark, I think Ray's advice about a soil test is a good one. Please
do let us know if you do it.
I took a few minutes to look on the web to see just how bad arsenic
in the soil really is. I guess it can be pretty bad.
On the other hand, small traces are not so bad. I found this
interesting paragraph on a web site:
"Despite all the adverse health effects associated with inorganic
arsenic exposure, there is some evidence that the small amounts of
arsenic in the normal diet (10-50 ppb) may be beneficial to your
health. For example, animals fed a diet with unusually low
concentrations of arsenic did not gain weight normally. They also
became pregnant less frequently than animals fed a diet containing a
normal amount of arsenic. Further, the offspring from these animals
tended to be smaller than normal, and some died at an early age.
However, no cases of arsenic deficiency in humans have ever been
Mark Thompson wrote:
another thing, what's to say that if it DID leach into the soil, that it would
be taken up by the veggies?
I don't know the answer, but suspect that very little would be found in the
resulting fruits and veggies.
I'm holding to the premise that your veggies, even if you grew them along side
treated wood, are bound to be far better for you than the garbage you would
otherwise buy at the store.
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