Treated Wood

No votes yet

When to Use

For situations where durability is essential, consider plastic lumber products instead.  If you need treated wood, choose from this list of wood preservative alternatives for arsenic.  That list is also on page 43-45 of the San Francisco Guide to Selecting Treated Wood.


Consumer, Industrial

Environmental & Health Information

Wood preservatives contain toxic chemicals that can cause adverse impacts to human health or to the environment. For example, chemicals applied via “pressure treatment” can be rubbed off or leached from the wood.  Preservative chemicals can be released into the environment during processing and storage of treated wood.

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

Write a Review

Log in or register to post reviews