Burning treated wood

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by navygirl, Oct 28, 2005.

  1. navygirl

    navygirl Well-Known Member

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    Stepdad decided to burn the old decking I tore off the deck last summer in the woodstove for heat. I don't think this is a good idea because of creosote build-up. I know that there are ways to take care of that though. Does anyone know if there are any health hazards associated with burning treated wood inside? The old decking has been out there for at least fifteen years so it had plenty of time to off-gas...
    Should I tell him to "cease and desist" burning the old decking?
     
  2. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Treated wood gives off toxic fumes in the smoke. It can and has killed people. The value of the wood as firewood is mighty small compared to the risk involved.
     

  3. Mid Tn Mama

    Mid Tn Mama Well-Known Member Supporter

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    treated wood (or outdoor thiings like decks) used to be treated with formaldehyde. I wouldn't burn it!
     
  4. Laura

    Laura Well-Known Member

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    Not only the fumes, but the ash is highly toxic, too. Dispose of the ash properlyin a sealed container, don't just dump them outside unless you want dead animals laying around, they are attracted by the saltiness and will lick at it.

    Treated lumber should never be burned.
     
  5. edcopp

    edcopp Well-Known Member

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    Cease and decist.

    Treated wood contains the same chemicals that our society uses to kill the bad guys in the gas chamber, and it will kill you just as dead if done just right.
    Cut up treated wood into managable sizes and put it into a dumpster somewhere. :soap:
     
  6. RedneckPete

    RedneckPete Well-Known Member

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    I burn treated wood (Pressure treated and creosote railway ties) outside all the time. Where do you think this stuff goes when you put it in the dumpster? It all ends up in the same environment, albeit perhaps a little more slowly.

    I wouldn’t burn it in the wood stove though. Not sure why, but it seems like a bad idea to me.

    Pete
     
  7. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Construction co around here has a huge pile of old rr ties, been burning them in their shop for heat for the past 2-3 years. Probably not good, but it's done. They are actually on the edge of town, not sure if in or out of the limits, but the prevailing wind doesn't go back into town. Can sure tell when they are heating when you drive by on the highway.

    Funny, they have a huge pile of firewood from trees (cut-downs from the town) but they sell that, so don't use it themselves.

    --->Paul
     
  8. texican

    texican Well-Known Member

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    Hi
    Rambler, sounds like those folks might have one of those superfund signs outside their place one day, if anyone catches em. Place up in Longview was closed down years ago, and they're still doing mitigation work where they were processing creosoted posts.

    treated wood, at least the old kind had arsenic in it...Yummmmm, Arsenic!!! Says real plainly on the little labels, Do Not Burn. The treated wood off a deck makes great gates, chicken pen panels, whatever...for building purposes...

    Now, if the SHTF, and there ain't a tree for a hundred miles, no cow or buffalo chips, coal, or wooden furniture to burn to keep warm, well you're gonna be dead in a little while anyways, so burn the pressure treated wood then.... but if you plan on living a little while longer, I'd seriously pass on burning it.
     
  9. dlangland

    dlangland dlangland

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    Burnt a couple railroad ties once in a weak mood...Mean stuff. Don't want to even start on how accidentally breathing those fumes made me, and what a set-back to my work progress that was. Just tell him to please be safe. Best not to mess with it. Deb
     
  10. navygirl

    navygirl Well-Known Member

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    Thanks everyone. I passed the message on and told the folks to leave the old decking alone. Firewood's cheaper than funerals...
     
  11. Arborethic

    Arborethic Well-Known Member

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    Fifteen years ago the standard for treated wood was 'wolmanized' wood (aka chromated copper arsenate). And yes, that 'arsenate' is ARSENIC, a heavy metal just as bad as lead! Burning it means that everything downwind is polluted with an arsenic compound.

    Wolmanized wood has to be handled as a toxic compound, which includes the sawdust, fumes, and ashes. Proper disposal requires dispersal to a sealed landfill.

    I'm sure you are aware of the Superfund costs for old battery plants, where lead in the soil approaches toxic levels. But are you aware that your local nursery sells MSMA to control grass burrs and other noxious grasses? Guess what...MSMA is yet another ARSENIC compound! Yep....just another way to disperse heavy metals into your environment.....
     
  12. longrider

    longrider Southern Gent

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    oh my yes it's bad stuff! not inside- ever. better to pile it up outside and breakdown over time than burn it. if you do it outside dont stick around the fire. for sure dont get down wind of it. depending on the preservative it is all highly toxic.

    for that matter, dont burn Pine Trees and Ceders in the house. they put of caustic fumes too, not to mention the creosote that sticks in the chimney/stove pipe.

    google firewood cautions and get yourself a list of woods that would be bad to burn.

    ps, welcome to the BB:)



     
  13. Arborethic

    Arborethic Well-Known Member

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    LR, you DO need a better education concerning wood heating. First, CCA wood DOES contain Arsenic. Arsenic is a heavy metal. It does not 'break down'! The ashes in a wood stove consuming certain treated woods can cause you serious health problems.

    However, a well vented wood stove burning Pine or Cedar (I'm assuming you are refering to wood in the Pinus and Juniperus genus) has no documented record of causing human/human habition medical problems. If you have evidence to the contrary, I would be interested in reviewing it.

    And, if you'd ever lived in West Texas or other parts of the Southwest, you would realize that burning NATIVE wood containing the natural concentration of creosote, can be a serious health problem.

    Oh..you city folks! You crack me up! LOL...