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Treated Lumber Virginia Wood Flows Local Salvage Kelly ReedTreated Lumber | Photo by Kelly Reed

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TREATED WOOD /tritɛd wʊd/

 

Treated woods are rejected from MRF processing because they usually contain toxic chemicals, such as creosote, making them unfit for reuse.  Common applications of treated woods include those where the wood is in contact with the ground or water, such as telephone poles, pier piles, or outdoor decks.  Often, the chemicals contained within these treated woods leak into the ground, creating a safety hazard in surrounding areas.  For this reason, the use of various chemicals for treatment has been banned, particularly the use of creosote.

Engineered woods, though often produced with formaldehyde, are not considered treated woods since they are human-made, and also since the formaldehyde they contain is not dangerous except during manufacturing and processes where the wood might be pulverized.  This is because formaldehyde breaks down quickly in the presence of sunlight or water.

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