Experts are warning against using treated wood as firewood due to the potential health risks and environmental damage it can cause. Treated wood, which is chemically treated to resist rot and insect infestations, can contain toxins, such as arsenic and chromium, which are released into the air when burned and can cause a variety of health problems, including skin irritation, respiratory issues, and increased cancer risk. Additionally, burning treated wood can release chemicals into the soil and water supply, posing a risk to wildlife and plants. Alternatives include hardwoods, softwoods, and fruit or nut trees.
Experts Warn of Dangers of Using Treated Wood as Firewood
Using firewood to heat your home or for outdoor fire pits is a great way to create warmth and gather loved ones to spend time with. However, not all firewood is created equal. It is important to know what type of wood you are using and the potential dangers that may come with it.
One type of wood that has gained attention in recent years is treated wood. Treated wood is lumber that has been chemically treated to resist rot and insect infestations. While this may sound like a good thing for outdoor building projects, using treated wood as firewood can be extremely dangerous.
What Makes Treated Wood Dangerous?
Treated wood is treated with a variety of chemicals, including arsenic and chromium. These chemicals are used to make the wood resistant to rot and pests, but they can also pose a serious health risk when burned. When treated wood is burned, the toxins from the chemicals are released into the air and can be inhaled.
These toxins can cause a variety of health problems, including:
– Skin irritation or rashes
– Respiratory issues, such as coughing or wheezing
– Increased risk of cancer
In addition to the health risks, burning treated wood can also release chemicals into the soil and water supply. This can lead to contamination and pose a risk to wildlife and plants in the surrounding area.
What Types of Treated Wood Should I Avoid Using as Firewood?
There are several types of treated wood that should be avoided when using firewood, including:
– Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA) treated wood: This type of treated wood is commonly used for outdoor projects such as decks, playgrounds, and fences. It contains arsenic, which can cause serious health problems when burned.
– Creosote-treated wood: This type of treated wood is often used for railroad ties and utility poles. It contains polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are toxic when burned.
– Pentachlorophenol-treated wood: This type of treated wood is used for a variety of outdoor applications, including fencing and utility poles. It contains pentachlorophenol, which is a known carcinogen.
What are the Alternatives to Using Treated Wood as Firewood?
If you are looking for alternatives to using treated wood as firewood, there are several options available. These include:
– Hardwoods: Hardwoods are a great option for firewood as they burn longer and produce a hotter flame than softer woods. Examples of hardwoods include oak, maple, and hickory.
– Softwoods: Softwoods are another option for firewood, but they burn faster than hardwoods. Examples of softwoods include pine and spruce.
– Fruit and nut trees: Fruit and nut trees such as peach, apple, and almond are also great options for firewood.
Q: Can I burn treated wood in my fire pit or outdoor fireplace?
A: No, it is not safe to burn treated wood in your fire pit or outdoor fireplace. The toxins released from the chemicals can pose a serious health risk when inhaled.
Q: Can I use treated wood in my wood stove?
A: No, it is not safe to use treated wood in your wood stove. The toxins released from the chemicals can pose a serious health risk when inhaled.
Q: How do I dispose of treated wood?
A: Treated wood should be disposed of properly. Contact your local waste management facility to find out the proper way to dispose of treated wood in your area.
In conclusion, treated wood should never be used as firewood due to the potential health risks and environmental damage it can cause. It is important to know what type of wood you are using and to choose safer alternatives such as hardwoods, softwoods, and fruit or nut trees. By being mindful of what you burn, you can help keep yourself and the environment safe.