Re: [gardeners] Question about pressure treated wood

Wendy Arons (
Thu, 22 Feb 2001 09:07:31 -0500

Organic Gardening magazine has done a number of metastudies of the 
literature on CCA wood and has recommended strongly that it NOT be 
used for vegetable gardens or for children's play structures.  They 
say arsenic DOES leach out into the soil; they also have found that 
your plants don't thrive as well.

I've never used CCA wood for raised beds, so I don't know if plants 
do more poorly; I personally wouldn't take the chance of having my 
food plants so close to arsenic impregnated wood.  If you read the 
handout that lumber stores are supposed to give you with the wood (my 
partner's a carpenter, we get these things all the time) they tell 
you that you shouldn't bring the dust into the house, you need to 
launder clothes separately after working with CCA lumber, you need to 
wear gloves and a mask while working with it, you shouldn't eat or 
drink while working with it...frankly, this doesn't sound like 
something I want near my food.

There are other cheap alternatives, like "plastic" wood for raised 
beds.  We're experimenting with using straw bales to build a couple 
of  raised beds this year:  they may be too high, but we won't have 
to kneel...

Wendy, Indiana zone 5