Can You Burn Pressure Treated Wood?


Image of a burning wood. But Can You Burn Pressure Treated Wood?

We all light up the fireplaces to keep warm during freezing weather. We tend to throw any nearby wood or log into the fire without even giving it consideration. However, 

Can you burn pressure treated wood? 

You MUST NOT burn a pressure treated wood, old or new, whether it’s in stoves, hearthside, or outdoors. They contain toxic chemicals that come out as smoke and ash and are harmful if inhaled. 

You can dispose of pressure treated wood in the landfill; however, you should always find a way of reusing it.

Dangers of Burning Pressure Treated Wood

Disposing of a pressure treated wood through burning comes with severe health and environmental hazards. 

Burning pressure treated lumber is illegal in all 50 states.

The other name for treated wood is CCA lumber. Where the abbreviation CCA stands for Copper, Chromium, and Arsenic. According to studies, a single 12ft x 2in x 6in board of treated wood has arsenic that can kill 250 grown-ups.

Burning is, in fact, the fastest way of releasing these chemicals to the environment. One tablespoon of ash of a pressure treated wood is exceptionally lethal. Arsenic, for example, is a silent killer chemical that has no taste or smell that can warn you of its presence.

In normal circumstances, pressure treated wood comes in a dark brown or an OD green color. Besides, it has half inch-long splits all over its surfaces. Those are the areas of injection of the treatment. Therefore if you are not sure about the wood, don’t burn it.

A report by the Journal of the American Medical Association on a study about the effects of burning pressure treated wood, a family used a treated wood during the winter to warm the room. After a couple of months, members of that particular family reported that their hair started falling out, they experienced crippling headaches and suffered nosebleeds.

In the report, the parents cited multiple instances where they blacked out for hours. The two children experienced seizures. The house plants withered and eventually died, the fish in the aquarium died as well. After examination, the symptoms linked to the small traces of ash dust that were in the house.

It’s encouraged to burn construction waste woods if you are looking to dispose of them. All you need to do is to double-check and ensure that the wood you are burning is pure and not treated.

How to Dispose of Pressure Treated Lumber

Pressure treated wood is a renowned construction material for outdoor structures such as fences, furniture, porches, decks, picnic tables, flower beds, and even buildings. A plank of treated wood offers more resistance to molds, insects, and deterioration, unlike the untreated counterpart. 

Pressure treated wood can last up to five decades and even more. 

The problem creeps in once the wood is deemed of less use and require disposal. Burning pressure treated wood as a way of disposing of it is unacceptable. Here are steps on how you can dispose of your treated wood.

Step One

Selling the treated wood as a way of disposing of it would be a viable option. If you over-estimated the pressure-treated wood you would require for your construction, you’ll remain with many extra pieces. Offer the additional fragments up for sale through advertising in the local classified adverts.

Step Two

You can opt to give away some pieces of your pressure treated wood or even the whole of it if you fail to get buyers. Get a “Free” sign placed on the extra wood in your courtyard. There are a lot of people in your neighborhood who would gladly love to take them, especially if they do not have to pay. Besides, some websites advertise free items, using such sites will help you reach out to a broader audience.

Step Three

You can recycle your pressure treated wood in many different ways, for example, using it in building a separate structure for your use. According to research at Virginia Tech University’s College of Natural Resources, over 80% of used pressure treated wood is reusable.

Step Four

Feel free to contact the local authorities or the environmental conservation agencies to find out about the existence of landfills for disposing of unwanted pressure-treated wood.

Step Five

Call the waste collection services in your locality. Such agencies collect and dispose of different kinds of wastes, including pressure treated wood at a feel.

Precautionary Tips When Handling Pressure Treated Wood

Pressure treated wood contains some toxic chemicals that you must avoid coming into contact with at all costs. Below are some preventive tips that you must keep in mind whenever you are working with treated wood.

  • Always have your gloves on while handling treated wood, wash your hands thoroughly before eating or drinking anything.
  • Always have your safety goggles together with a dust mask when sanding, drilling, or cutting pressure treated wood.
  • Cut your treated wood in an open place-outdoors.
  • Never burn treated wood.
  • Let your treated wood to dry properly before staining or painting. 
  • Drill a pilot hole before you drive in a nail or screw, this will help prevent the splitting of the wood. This practice is particularly important when you are fastening near the end of a wood.


From the discussions above, it’s conclusive that you must not burn pressure treated wood. The chemicals used in preserving these woods pose health and environmental risks if released to the surrounding through. If you happen to be with pressure treated wood that is no longer of use to you, consider the safe ways of disposing of them. Safety means could be through waste collection agencies, dumping the woods in the landfill, offering the woods for free, and even recycling them.

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