Arsenic Treated Wood - Most Applications

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When to Use

City agencies are prohibited from using arsenic treated wood except for certain applications that involve saltwater immersion. Details can be found in the list of Approved Alternatives to Arsenic Treated Wood.  Exemption requests must be submitted to SF Environment.


Consumer, Industrial

Environmental & Health Information

Arsenic is cancer-causing and can be released during processing storage, sawing, during or after disposal. It is only allowed on City properties if it will come in contact with salt water.


Info on this product category: Wood


Consider plastic lumber products as an alternative when durability is essential.

Criteria for Wood


  • HDPE: 25-100% postconsumer content, 75-100% total recycled content
  • Mixed plastics/Sawdust: 50% postconsumer content, 100% total recycled content
  • HDPE/Fiberglass: 75% postconsumer content, 95% total recycled content
  • Other mixed resins: 50-100% postconsumer content, 95-100% total recycled content

(from EPA's Recommended Recovered Materials Content Levels)



SF Environment used the following criteria to evaluate potential alternatives to wood preservatives 
containing arsenic: 
1. If the product is pressure treated, treatment must be standardized by American Wood Products Association for the 
intended use. This requirement helps ensure that the treatment meets specifications to 
minimize leaching. 
2. Product must not be used in a manner that US EPA prohibits or discourages. 
3. Product or use must not violate state or local law, policy, or published best 
management practices. 
4. Product may not result in the release or creation of dioxins during manufacture or 
5. Product, constituents, or contaminants may not be listed on the EPA Priority PBT list 
or the EPA Waste Minimization Priority Chemicals list. 
6. Product (or components) should not contain known, likely, or probable human 
carcinogens listed by EPA, IARC, NTP, or State of California. 
7. Product (or components) should not be listed as reproductive or developmental 
toxicants by the State of California. 
8. For structures built in or over water, or where significant runoff is likely to occur, the 
use of copper should be minimized. If copper-based products are used, products with the 
lowest leaching potential should be chosen. 
9. Products must not designate as a hazardous waste using criteria set by the State of 
All alternatives on the "Arsenic Treated Wood Alternatives List" meet the criteria listed above. 


Last updated

Last updated: 
September 10, 2003

Guide for City Staff

Citywide Contract

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