Home and Garden Use of Treated Wood
Selecting the correct type of treated wood can reduce risks to people and the environment. Some preservatives can leach into soil or water and be taken up by plants. Touching treated wood may also leave residues on the skin. Consider that some treated wood may protect against both mold and insects, and some may only protect against molds.
Consider these tips when using treated wood in the garden or home:
- Some types of treated wood are not approved for use at home. Check that the wood type is approved for your project by reading the label attached to the wood.
- Consider using wood that is naturally resistant to decay. Other options include synthetic lumber, bricks, concrete blocks, or stone for building projects.
- Consider wearing gloves when handling unsealed treated wood to reduce exposure to your skin.
- Consider wearing a dust mask while cutting treated wood to avoid breathing treated sawdust. Even dust from untreated wood can irritate a person's airways.
- Never burn treated wood. Toxic chemicals can be released in the smoke.
- Consider sealing wood with a specialized sealant or paint. This barrier keeps chemicals from leaching out of wood and into soil.
- Sealants can also minimize residues left on skin when touched by children or adults.
- Wash dirt off of vegetables grown in beds with treated wood. The soil can have higher amounts of wood preservatives than the vegetables themselves.
- Consider placing edible plants further away from the edges of treated planters. Soils right next to treated wood are likely to have higher amounts of chemicals from the wood.
For assistance identifying the risks of any type of treated wood, contact NPIC at 800-858-7378 (8:00am - 12:00pm PST), or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Garden Use of Treated Wood:
Return to Treated Wood
Last updated June 29, 2021