Arsenic Treated Wood Precautions 
UPdate Summer 2002

DO NOT BURN treated wood indoors or outdoors; the smoke and ash are VERY TOXIC.

Do not put treated wood in your mouth.

Do not let children chew or lick treated wood.

Do not use treated wood for wood chips, mulch or compost.

Do not use treated wood for cutting boards or counter tops or anywhere it is in direct contact with food.

Do not use treated wood to store food or animal feed.

Do not use treated wood for bee hives.

Do not let treated wood come into contact with drinking water.

Do not grow edible plants near treated decks.

Do not let children or pets play under treated decks or stairs.

Do not use CCA treated wood or wood products in construction projects where
children can come in direct contact with the material.

If a CCA wood structure burns, precautions should be taken to avoid the fumes, and extreme precautions should be used in dealing with the ash.

If you must work with CCA wood:
Don't work with treated wood indoors, especially around heaters which can burn small particles creating toxic vapour.

Saw the wood outdoors. Do not inhale sawdust from treated wood. Wear industrial quality dust mask and eye protection. Use neoprene, rubber or leather gloves when handling treated wood.

Do not allow sawdust to collect on the ground.

Wash exposed skin areas thoroughly after working with the wood -- and before eating, drinking or smoking.

Change out of sawdusted clothes at work site (wearing dust mask) and bag soiled clothing.  Keep children and pets away from sawdust.  If sawdust gets on your clothes, wash them separately from other laundry.

Dispose of CCA sawdust and scraps in regular garbage headed for a double
lined landfill.

If you have existing structures made of CCA wood:
Sealing surfaces with polyurethane or oil-based stains will slow arsenic leaching and reduce skin contact.  Resealing should be done every  year or two and more often for high friction areas. Water based sealants DO NOT prevent leaching of arsenic. Don't use products that may chip or peel and need scraping or sanding before recoating. Scraping or sanding may dislodge more arsenic.


Information compiled from Health Canada, EPA, and New Hampshire Department
of Health and Human Services.

For related information, see Lumber Exposes Prompt Phaseout, by Rebecca Watson, UPdate Summer 2002