Can you Burn Pressure Treated Wood in a Fire Pit?

January 11, 2021

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Looking to find out whether you can burn pressure-treated wood? Well we've got everything you need to know from first hand experience. The short answer is NO - but read on to find out why and what else you can burn...

It is important that the wood you are burning is not only a risk to your health and the environment but also illegal depending on where you live. You can not burn pressure treated wood in a fire pit as this can release toxic emissions which pose a health risk.

What is Pressure Treated Wood?

In short, wood that is infused with chemicals to preserve (up to 5 times longer) and protect it from:

  • Wet and Dry Rot
  • Fungi and Mould
  • Termites and other Organisms
  • Fire Protection

These are typically Building Materials such as:

  • Framing and Flooring
  • Cladding and Decking
  • Outdoor Furniture, Fences, Sheds, Vegetable Gardens
  • Packaging and Pallets.

How to Identify Treated Wood? And what if it is not obvious.

  • Coloured stain or dye on the surface.
  • Stamped markings on the ends.
  • Slits on the surface from manufacturing.

My best advice is “If in doubt, throw it out”, safely and responsibly at your local waste disposal site.

When handling treated wood we recommend you wear protective gloves to prevent getting splinters or residue on your skin (particularly if it’s wet). If you are cutting the wood and sweeping up saw dust then I would also suggest wearing a dust mask and glasses/goggles.

Remember, be sure to keep children away.

Here are a few products we recommend:

Why should you not Burn Treated Wood?

The chemicals contained in the wood become harmful when burned releasing Carcinogens into the air you breathe.

They also contain lethal doses of Arsenic which is very harmful to you and other life.

Can Burning  Treated Wood Kill You?

Yes, if you inhale the toxic smoke from burning it it will get into your lungs and although it may not cause immediate harm, can eventually cause disease and lead to cancer.  You might also ingest toxins by eating food that is cooked on a treated wood fire or handle treated wood (particularly when wet) and forget to wash yours. The later typically relates to children who put fingers in their mouth without washing their hands.

 

 

What Chemicals can be found in Treated Wood?

  • Chromated Copper Arsenate (referred to as CCA)
  • Pentachlorophenol (PCP)
  • Creosote
  • Propiconazole
  • Asbestos (Fire Protective Coating)
  • ACQ (Most common and recent in Residential)
  • Borates
  • Copper Azole
  • Copper Naphthenate
  • Copper -HDO
  • Polymeric Betaine
  • Triadimefon

 

Other Wood Products that you should NOT Burn:

  • Magazines and Cardboard.
  • Chipboard and Plywood used in floors.
  • Painted Wood and MDF which are used to make Furniture.

We could list a whole lot more the volatile compounds in these materials however, let’s just keep it simple by saying:

“Avoid Burning”, if cutting and handling then “Protect Yourself and the Environment”

Conclusion

Do not burn pressure treated wood.

To find out what is the best type of wood for your firepit please take a read of how to light firewood in a fire pit.

Please feel free to share our advice and comment below, thanks.

 

 

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