Absorption of arsenic by edible plants

Planter nospam at nospam.com
Wed Mar 22 08:21:44 EST 2000

David J. Bockman wrote:
> Very little leaching occurs with modern pressure treated lumber. See
> http://www.awpi.org/oaq-a.html#CCA for more info.
> --
> David J. Bockman, Fairfax, VA (USDA Hardiness Zone 7)
> On The World Wide Web: http://www.bunabayashi.com
> email: djb at bunabayashi.com

I read something altogether different at that website:

Consumer Information Sheets:
Inorganic Arsenical Pressure-Treated Wood

(Including CCA, ACA, and ACZA)

Consumer Information

This wood has been preserved by pressure-treatment with an
EPA-registered pesticide containing inorganic arsenic to protect it from
insect attack and decay. Wood treated with inorganic arsenic should be
used only where such protection is important.

Inorganic arsenic penetrates deeply into and remains in the
pressure-treated wood for a long time. Exposure to inorganic arsenic may
present certain hazards. Therefore, the following precautions should be
taken both when handling the treated wood and in determining where to
use or dispose of the treated wood.

Use site precautions

Wood pressure-treated with waterborne arsenical preservatives may be
used inside residences as long as all sawdust and construction debris
are 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 of such sites would
be structures or containers for storing silage or food.

Do not use treated wood for cutting-boards or countertops.

Only treated wood that is visibly clean and free of surface residue
should be used for patios, decks and walkways.

Do not use treated wood for construction of those portions of beehives
which may come in contact with the honey.

Treated wood should not be used where it may come into direct or
indirect contact with public drinking water, except for uses involving
incidental contact such as docks and bridges.

Handling precautions

Dispose of treated wood by ordinary trash collection or burial. Treated
wood should not be burned in open fires or in stoves, fireplaces, or
residential boilers because toxic chemicals may be produced as part of
the smoke and ashes. Treated wood from commercial or industrial use
(e.g., construction sites) may be burned only in commercial or
industrial incinerators or boilers in accordance with state and Federal

Avoid frequent or prolonged inhalation of sawdust from treated wood.
When sawing and machining treated wood, wear a dust mask. Whenever
possible, these operations should be performed outdoors to avoid indoor
accumulations of airborne sawdust from treated wood.

When power-sawing and machining, wear goggles to protect eyes from
flying particles.

After working with the wood, and before eating, drinking, and use of
tobacco products, wash exposed areas thoroughly.

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

Approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 8/87

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