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Treated Lumbar or Composite Lumber?

There is nothing that is more stunning, fine-looking and gorgeous as real wood when it comes to building. All wood is prone to moisture, heat, mold, fungi and bugs unless protected in some manner and that equates to treated lumber, which is wood that has had chemicals and other processes applied in order to make it more resilient to threats of termites, ants, and bugs or all sorts . Wood that touches the ground or is exposed to Mother Nature and the elements should be a treated product. There are a variety of treated wood products on the market and more often than not, treated wood is sold under a brand name only and does not designate what type of chemical has been used to treat the wood.

CCA is a wood treatment preservation method called Copper Chrome Arsenate which is chemicals combined with insecticides and fungicides and the Arsenate is arsenic which is a carcinogen. Chrome or Chromium is a type of heavy metal which is also a carcinogen. The copper in CCA makes it possible for these compounds to bind to the soil, which acts as a deterrent to any micro-organism activity taking place in the soil. There is a red flag warning with this type of wood treatment in that is can leach out in surrounding soils and plants over time.

Creosote is a very familiar name and treatment source which is a product made up of coal tar creosote and other varieties made of oil-tar creosote. These are fossil fuel based products and can be carcinogenic.

ACQ is Alkaline Copper Quatenary is another form of treatment and this has a much higher elevation of copper, therefore can possibly produce more toxicity.

CDDC is Copper Dimethyl-dithiocarbamate is a product made up of copper and sulfur compounds and is said to have toxic compounds.

CC is Ammoniacal Copper Citrate which contains copper and citric acid. This product also leaches cooper.

LOSP is Liquid Organic Solvent Preservative may possible contain insecticide chemicals and this type of treated lumber has not been recommended for use in children’s toys or any wood products that come in contact with food.

I did take a look at labeling on treated wood products and found that some have safety warnings on them such as washing your hands thoroughly after using, wear masks. It is important to do your homework if you are considering using treated lumber for a project, especially one that is surrounding a vegetable garden.

I know that this sounds frightening, however treated lumber has a very important purpose and it is meant to be toxic because it is suppose to repel “things” such as bugs and living organisms. Treated lumber certainly has its proper place for use and if there ever was an oxymoron then “treated lumber and environmentally friendly” should be on the list.

Recycled composite plastic timber products are resistant to water, termites, fungi, mold, and chemicals so these products are extremely safe for raised gardens. The boards do not split, there is no off-gassing of toxic chemicals into surrounding soils, and there is no warping or splitting. Recycled wood products come in a variety of colors and there are some exciting wood-grain finishes and environmentally green and recycled composite timber could never be called an oxymoron.

To read more about green recycled timber products visit the YCCA web site under ASK THE CONTRACTOR link and visit Green Building Products. You will find more information on composite materials that are suitable for raised gardens as well as decks.

Phone: (928) 778-0040


810 E. Sheldon Street, Prescott, AZ 86301

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