Timber treated with insecticides and fungicides for outdoor use are often used in sensitive areas such as playgrounds and vegetable patches.
There are two different ways of wood treatment:
1) From a biological building POV, boric salts are harmless but rarely used. This treatment doesn't make much sense for outdoors because the salts are washed out fairly quickly and are only protective for a short time.
2) Synthetic chemicals such as insecticides and fungicides on their own or in combination with salts. One variation, which often is thought of harmless, is the treatment with chromium salts. However, trivalent chromium is suspected to be a carcinogenic substance. Synthetic preservatives turn wood into toxic waste and pose severe health threats to humans, animals, and the environment.
This has triggered reactions from residents and city councils. More and more communities are refusing to use wood treated with poisonous heavy metals for their playgrounds and this is indeed a great development. Their only reason for not doing so is that the expected cost of disposing of this toxic wood would be too high. It is a wonder why their first and utmost concern wouldn't be the health of the children.
The interesting bit of this story is that in the outdoors, untreated wood from slow-growing trees such as alpine Larch and Oak will actually outlast treated pine or spruce. We arrive at the same goal without the use of preservatives.
SHARKS & WOOD PRESERVATION
A shark attack in the Mediterranean summer season would receive sensational reports by the press. They would discuss at length the danger of sharks for the umpteenth time and many people would instinctively perceive it as a warning without hesitation.
Why? Because human history and advancement in biology research has taught us which animals we must be aware of and what kind of threat each one poses to us (ex. parasites, snakes, jellyfish, sharks, etc.). Therefore we have adjusted to this which is now 'common knowledge' not only mentally and physically but also instinctively and emotionally with natural defense reflexes/responses which pass on to the next generation and stay clear of such dangers.
Human behaviour studies show that it takes a very long time for new protective reactions/reflexes to anchor in our DNA and a few generations are not enough. Rotten meat for example, has always existed and for generations and we are protected by our genetics. We have inherited a natural dislike for spoiled food through senses such as taste, smell and sight. No one will have a desire to eat rotten meat and it is given that a butcher who sells rotten meat in his shop be punished by law.
However, only in the past century have we been confronted with an incredible amount of new unknown dangers, one of which are toxins/chemicals.
The negative effects from Hiroshima to Chernobyl, the chemical accidents from Seveso and Bhopal to the court cases regarding wood preservatives can be rationalized, however our reflexes and instincts can't adjust as quickly.
This inability to swiftly adjust our instinctive and emotional reactions to new dangers turns out to be a disadvantage for us. Timber preservatives which endanger our health and environment however are available in hardware and trade shops even though these products are causing diseases and sometimes even death to children and adults.
Only intellectually have we analyzed and registered this information and we know that the production, use and disposal of these products are very harmful to our environment.
We are aware that by burning treated wood, dioxins and either harmful substances are released into the atmosphere which cause health and environmental problems. Regardless, unbelievable amounts of synthetic and chemical adhesives and preservatives are being used every year. The difference between toxic preservatives and rotten meat is that we have been exposed to modern man-made toxins/ chemical poisons only for a relatively short time.
This might be one of the many explanations to why synthetic chemicals are still a part of wood production. However, it is not necessary to use preservatives, chipboard or plywood panels anywhere in the home particularly in this century when wood engineering has advanced. None of the buildings that are hundreds or thousands of years old have been chemically 'preserved'. How simple, timeless and beautiful was our ancestors' ways of building? The laminated products of our modern chemical industry and plywood manufacturers cannot compare in ways that truly matter - our health.
Holz100 Canada Inc.