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Safety of Preservative Treated Timber Product FAQs
Q: How are Treated Timber Products Approved?
A: In Australia, timber treatments must be approved by the Federal Government regulator the APVMA (Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority) for Safety and Efficacy (effectiveness) before they can be used in Australian treatment plants and sold to the end-user. Also, to facilitate use in construction, the timber treatments are included in the Australian and New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 1604 series which specify the timber treatments suitable for the various Hazard Classes.
Q: What are the Hazard Classes?
A: Hazard Classes can be different based on the wood preservative system used to pressure treat the wood product and its intended end use (ground contact, above ground contact, etc.). It is important to purchase treated timber products for the intended exposure condition. Typically, wood products are treated for “above ground use” and “ground contact/freshwater immersion use”. More information on Hazard Classes can be viewed here.
Q: How do I safely handle treated timber?
A: The following general precautions should be taken when handling the treated wood:
- Do not burn preserved timber.
- Wear a dust mask and goggles when cutting or sanding timber.
- Wear gloves when working with timber.
- Some preservative may migrate from the treated timber into soil/ water or may dislodge from the treated timber surface upon contact with skin. Wash exposed skin areas thoroughly.
- All sawdust and construction debris should be cleaned up and disposed of after construction.
- Wash work clothes separately from other household clothing before re-use.
- Preserved timber should not be used where it may come into direct or indirect contact with drinking water, except for uses involving incidental contacts such as freshwater docks and bridges.
- Do not use preserved timber under circumstances where the preservative may become a component of food, animal feed, or beehives.
- Do not use preserved timber as mulch.
- Only preserved timber that is visibly clean and free of surface residue should be used.
- If the timber is to be used in an interior application and becomes wet during construction, it should be allowed to dry before being covered or enclosed.
- If you desire to apply a paint, stain, clear water repellent, or other finish to your preservative treated timber, we recommend following the manufacturer’s instructions and label of the finishing product. Before you start, we recommend you apply the finishing product to a small exposed test area before finishing the entire project to ensure it provides the intended result before proceeding.
- Mould growth can and does occur on the surface of many products, including untreated and treated timber, during prolonged surface exposure to excessive moisture conditions. To remove mould from the treated timber surface, timber should be allowed to dry. Typically, mild soap and water can be used to remove remaining surface mould.
- Projects should be designed, approved and installed following federal, state and local regulations governing construction in your area.
Q: How do I dispose of treated wood?
A: Preserved wood may be disposed of in landfills or burned in commercial or industrial incinerators or boilers following federal, state, and local regulations.
Q: Is it safe to use treated wood in a picnic table or on countertops?
A: Timber treatments such as MicroPro and ACQ may be used for outdoor picnic tables, however, CCA must not be used in this application see here.
- We recommend that treated wood products should not be used as a countertop. Do not put food directly in contact with treated wood.
Q: Do your pressure-treated wood products contain formaldehyde??
A: Kopper’s wood preservatives and Dindas Australia timber products do not contain formaldehyde. However, glues used to produce plywood, glue laminates, and other engineered wood products may contain formaldehyde. See our EWP section for specific details and PTS (Product Technical Statement) reports for our range of products.
Light Organic Solvent Preservative (LOSP) treatments usually contain a combination of insecticides and fungicides, such as permethrin and azoles. Copper napthenate (CuN) is the only commonly used one that changes timber colour (to green), others in the industry may have colouring added (such as blue framing). The LOSP treatment process is used for engineered and structural timbers as it maintains the dimensions of the product throughout the treatment process: vital for precision materials.
- Preservatives are dissolved in a light solvent for application
- Less pressure is required for application
- Traditional LOSP treatments don’t add to the moisture content of the timber, keeping it from swelling
- Insecticide and fungicide combinations can be altered to suit conditions and the desired end use of the product
- Very quick process, the product can be in and out of the treatment facility within 24 hours