5757
c.l
United States
Environmental Protection
Agency
Region 5
Office of Public Affairs
230 South Dearborn Street
Chicago, Illinois 60604
f/EPA
                                   905K87001
                                           For Consumers
  \  I
                                  U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
                                  Region V, Library
                                  230 South Dearborn Street
                                  Chicago, Illinois 60604

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION	  2

WHAT IS WOOD PRESERVATION?	 2-3

WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON WOOD
PRESERVATIVES?	 3-4

WHERE  MAY I USE TREATED WOOD? 	 4-6

WHAT ARE THE RISKS OF EXPOSURE TO
TREATED WOOD?  	  6

WHAT PRECAUTIONS SHOULD I TAKE
WHEN WORKING WITH TREATED WOOD? 	 6-8

HOW MAY I DISPOSE OF TREATED WOOD?	  8

WHAT RESTRICTIONS HAS THE GOVERNMENT PLACED
ON WOOD PRESERVATIVES?	  8

WHERE TO GET INFORMATION ABOUT THE
APPLICATOR CERTIFICATION PROGRAM	  inside back cover

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INTRODUCTION
If you are thinking about buying lumber to build a deck, fence, patio, or any structure that
will be exposed to the weather or possible pest attack, you should consider wood that is
treated with a wood preservative. Treated wood has a useful life at  least five times longer
than untreated wood.
   HAT IS WOOD PRESERVATION?

  ood preservation is the technique of protecting wood  through chemical treatment 
from damage by insects (termites, ants, and beetles), fungi (decay fungi and mold fungi),
marine borers (mollusk and crustacean groups), weather, and fire.

Wood treated with preservatives includes railroad ties, construction lumber, plywood,
timber, foundation materials, fence posts, utility poles, and landscape materials. The

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                        preservatives also are sprayed or brushed on wood fences, decks, picnic tables, playground
                        equipment, lawn furniture, millwork, plywood, and particleboard.
                        WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON WOOD PRESERVATIVES?

                        Creosote, pentachlorophenol (penta), and inorganic arsenicals account for more than 97
                        percent of the wood preservatives used in this country

                            Creosote:  a distillate of coal tar; a heavy, oily liquid Creosote improves the
                        weathering characteristics of wood, provides protection from insects and fungi, and
                        promotes insolubility in water It is used in railroad ties, large timbers, fence posts, poles,
                        and pilings

                            Penta (oilborne preservatives): a crystalline compound dissolved in light petroleum
                        oil. It is used to treat utility pole crossarms, construction lumber, timber products, and
                        .f^nce posts Penta-treated wood products resist insects and fungi.
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    Inorganic arsenicals (waterborne preservatives): compounds of arsenic, chromium,
copper, zinc, and fluoride They differ from creosote and penta in that they are water-
soluble inorganic substances, as opposed to oily, organic substances. Wood treated with
inorganic arsenicals may be used for patios, decks, playground equipment, and interiors.
WHERE MAY I USE TREATED WOOD?

If you are uncertain about where treated wood may be used safely, these hints may help.
      Wood treated with arsenical waterborne preservatives may be used inside homes,
       as long as all sawdust and construction debris are cleaned up Because of its
       toxicity, do not use wood treated with creosote or penta inside homes.

      In industrial buildings, wood treated with creosote or penta may be used for
       support structures if they are in contact with the soil and are subject to decay or
       insect infestation. Two coats of an appropriate sealer must be applied.

      In farm buildings, where domestic animals or livestock are unlikely to bite or lick
       the wood, wood treated  with creosote or penta may be used for support structures
       that have ground contact and are subject to decay or insect infestation Two coats
       of an appropriate sealer must be applied.

      Wood treated with penta may be used on woodwork that  has outdoor surfaces,
       such as door frames, windows, or patio frames. Any interior surfaces should be
       sealed with two coats of an apprcpnate sealer.

      Only treated wood that is visibly clean and free of surface residue should be used
       for patios, decks, and walkways.
Do not use wood treated with:

      creosote, penta, or inorganic arsenicals for structures or containers used for storing
       food, for cutting boards or countertops, or for beehive parts that may come into
       contact with the honey In addition, do not use it where it may come into direct or
       indirect contact with public drinking water and drinking water for domestic animals
       or livestock (Incidental contact, such as with docks and bridges, is all right)

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      creosote or penta in interiors of farm buildings where domestic animals or livestock
       may bite or lick the wood, or for bedding or brooding facilities  does not apply to
       wood treated with inorganic arsenicals.

      penta in the construction of log homes. For penta-treated wood already in place,
       and where frequent skin exposure is likely, appropriate sealers should be applied.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS OF EXPOSURE TO TREATED WOOD?

Generally speaking, the risks of exposure are greater for persons applying the chemicals
than for merely using the already treated wood.
Wood treated with inorganic arsenicals and used for decks, patios, lawn furniture, picnic
tables, or playground equipment does net pose a high risk to health. Wood treated with
this preservative is safe for frequent contact because absorption through the skin is
negligible. You do not need to apply a sealer to wood treated with inorganic arsenicals.
To ensure the safe use and handling of wood treated with creosote or penta, certain
precautions should be kept in mind:
      Creosote and penta tend to leach from wood over a long period of time. To prevent
       this, apply two coats of an appropriate sealer.

      Where sealers have not been applied, avoid skin contact. Frequent or prolonged
       exposure may cause dermatitis (inflammation of the skin)

      Urethane,  epoxy, and shellac are acceptable sealers lor all creosote and penta-
       treated wood.

      For wood-block flooring Treated with creosote, coal-tar  pitch and coal-tar pitch
       emulsion are effective sealers
WHAT PRECAUTIONS SHOULD I TAKE
WHEN WORKING WITH TREATED WOOD?

Wear long-sleeve shirts, long pants, and gloves impervious to the chemicals, such as
vinyl-coated gloves

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If oily preservatives or sawdust accumulate on clothes, wash before reuse. Wash work
clothes separately from other household clothing.

Avoid frequent or prolonged inhalation of sawdust from treated wood. Wear a dust mask
when sawing and machining Always wear goggles to protect your eyes from flying
particles when power-sawing and machining

If possible, work outdoors to avoid mdoor accumulation of sawdust from treated wood

Wash exposed body areas thoroughly afier working with the wood and before eating or
drinking, or before using tobacco products
HOW MAY I DISPOSE OF TREATED WOOD?

You may dump it with your ordinary trash, or you may bury it Never burn treated wood in
open fires or in stoves, fireplaces, or residential boilers, because toxic chemicals may be
produced as part of the smoke and ashes
WHAT RESTRICTIONS HAS THE GOVERNMENT PLACED ON
WOOD PRESERVATIVES?

EPA has classified creosote, penta, and inorganic arsenicals for "restricted use " This
means that the sale and use of these products is limited to certified applicators or to
persons under their direct supervision
An applicator certification program has been set up under the Federal Insecticide,
Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act This program is designed to ensure that restricted-use
pesticides are properly applied only by persons trained and qualified to handle these
materials.
                                                          US GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFF:ICE 1987744

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If you would like information about the applicator certification program, contact:
Illinois

Illinois Dept of Public Health
Division of Sanitation
535 West Jefferson St
Springfield, IL 62671

Contact: Harvey Dommick
        (217)  782-4674
Minnesota

Minnesota Dept of Agriculture
Agronomy Services Division
90 West Plato Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55107

Contact. Michael Fresvik
        (612) 296-8547
Indiana

Office of the Indiana State Chemist
Dept of Biochemistry
Purdue University
West Lafayette, IN 47907

Contact: L.O Nelson
        (317) 494-1587
Ohio

Ohio Dept of Agriculture
Pesticides Regulation
Reynolclsburg, OH 43068

Contact Oren Spilker
        (614)  866-6361
Michigan

Michigan Dept of Agriculture
Plant Industry Division
PO Box 3001 7
Lansing, Ml 48909

Contact John Dreves
        (517) 373-1087
Wisconsin

Wisconsin Dept. of Agriculture,
 Trade and Consumer Protection
Plant Industry Division
PO. Box 8911
Madison, Wl 53708

Contact  Edward Bergman
         (608) 266-0197
If you have any questions, or need assistance regarding the purchase or use of treated
wood, call EPA's Region 5 Pesticide Office in Chicago at (312) 353-21 92.

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