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Re: pressure treated lumber

  • Subject: Re: [cg] pressure treated lumber
  • From: Ann Pearce Ann.Pearce@uvm.edu
  • Date: Wed, 16 Jul 2003 13:23:41 -0400

Justin,

The main harm to children from pressure treated lumber comes from contact with 
the lumber, though there are also potential dangers from consuming food grown 
in it. The main way to reduce possible harm is to prevent the children from 
coming in contact with the wood. This can be done by painting the wood to seal 
it (currently, sources are advocating resealing pressure treated wood as often 
as every six months, as the sealant ages and the arsenic seeps through), 
having children wear gloves and protective clothing when working around the 
lumber, and educating them not to touch it. I suppose you could also cover the 
exposed lumber with heavy duty plastic as a short term temporary fix.

The ultimate fix, however, is to educate yourself and then to educate the 
teacher with the school garden and the horticultural extension agent about the 
dangers of this material and help them revise their opinions to prevent future 
use of pressure treated lumber in projects involving people and food. There 
are many current reports and resources on the internet substantiating the 
claims of danger. 

This paragraph is from the Vermont Public Interest Research Group:
www.vpirg.org/campaigns/environmentalHealth/arsenicfactsheet.com

Temporary fix:
Seal the arsenic in water-based latex paint is the safest sealant and should 
be reapplied every year, depending on local climate. Oil-based stains and 
paints are more durable but also more toxic than water-based sealants. 
Consumers should generally avoid paints and sealants that contain volatile 
organic compounds (VOCs). If a choice must be made, products with low levels 
of VOCs should be selected. Other ingredients to avoid in sealants include 
formaldehyde, fungicide, heavy metals, preservatives and mildewcides. Some 
least-toxic products to try include Bioshield, Miller Paint, and AFM Safe Coat 
paints. 

Good luck!
Ann Pearce
Burlington Area Community Gardens
Burlington, VT


Quoting Justin Russell <JRussell@ifmnet.org>:

> I agree that pressure treated lumber is nasty stuff, but I was put in a
> position where a teacher with a school garden and a horticultural extension
> agent agreed that it was safe to use for vegetable gardening with kids.
> Since it was not my decision to make, I had to go along with the project
> using the cheapest materials, i.e. pressure treated lumber. I wanted to
> know, is there a way to reduce the possible harm to children with these
> materials being used for raised beds?
> Thank you.
> 
> Justin Russell
> Inter-Faith Ministries
> Campaign To End Childhood Hunger
> Americorps*VISTA
> Gardening Projects Coordinator/ Anti-Hunger Curriculum Coordinator
> 829 N. Market
> Wichita, KS   67214-3519
> (316) 264-9303 (ex.113)
> (316) 264-2233 (fax)
> 
> 
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From:	Adam36055@aol.com [SMTP:Adam36055@aol.com]
> > Sent:	Wednesday, July 16, 2003 11:24 AM
> > To:	vmercer@crabtreefarms.org; community_garden@mallorn.com
> > Subject:	Re: [cg] pressure treated fence posts
> > 
> > To be frank, ma'am, with pressure treated lumber being yanked out of kid's
> > 
> > playgrounds and the fact that it has to be disposed of as toxic waste, I
> > would 
> > advise your friend to find some other place to trellis her climbing
> > plants, 
> > especially if she wants to eat them. 
> > 
> > With what we know now about PT lumber, it's really not worth the risk or 
> > liability to the garden in case somebody she feeds her stuff to gets ill. 
> > 
> > Best wishes,
> > Adam Honigman
> > Volunteer, 
> >  <A HREF="http://www.clintoncommunitygarden.org/";>Clinton Community
> > Garden</A>
> >  
> > 
> > << Subj:     [cg] pressure treated fence posts
> >  Date:  7/16/03 11:38:44 AM Eastern Daylight Time
> >  From:  vmercer@crabtreefarms.org (Vanessa Mercer)
> >  Sender:    community_garden-admin@mallorn.com
> >  To:    community_garden@mallorn.com
> >  
> >  I know this has probably asked a million times, but here goes: what is
> > the 
> > "official" thought on safe gardening distance from a pressure treated
> > lumber 
> > fence post. The posts were sunk in year 2000 are spaced about 10 feet
> > apart. The 
> > beds are not raised beds, just rows. But a gardener would like to use the 
> > fence for climbing plants. 
> >  
> >  thanks!
> >  Vanessa >>
> > 
> > 
> > ______________________________________________________
> > The American Community Gardening Association listserve is only one of
> > ACGA's services to community gardeners. To learn more about the ACGA and
> > to find out how to join, please go to http://www.communitygarden.org
> > 
> > 
> > To post an e-mail to the list:  community_garden@mallorn.com
> > 
> > To subscribe, unsubscribe or change your subscription:
> > https://secure.mallorn.com/mailman/listinfo/community_garden
> 
> 
> ______________________________________________________
> The American Community Gardening Association listserve is only one of ACGA's
> services to community gardeners. To learn more about the ACGA and to find out
> how to join, please go to http://www.communitygarden.org
> 
> 
> To post an e-mail to the list:  community_garden@mallorn.com
> 
> To subscribe, unsubscribe or change your subscription: 
> https://secure.mallorn.com/mailman/listinfo/community_garden
> 


-- 


______________________________________________________
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