Common hazardous ingredients
Arsenic, copper salts, creosote (a mixture of phenols including pentachlorophenol), mineral spirits, naphthenic acid.
Creosote and inorganic arsenic compounds are known human carcinogens. Creosote has been linked to genetic damage, inorganic arsenic compounds are related to both genetic damage and birth defects, and penta (pentachlorophenol) is associated with birth defects and fetal toxicity. Unrestricted wood preservatives may be flammable and are toxic.
Use in a well-ventilated area according to label instructions. Never burn wood treated with preservatives, the fumes will be toxic. Wear nitrile gloves.
Keep container tightly closed when not in use. Store in a box lined with plastic in a locked cabinet or away from children and pets.
Take to a hazardous waste facility or collection event.
Prevent the growth of fungi and resulting wood decay by keeping wood as dry as possible.
Cedar contains natural resins that prevent decay in the presence of fungi or insects.
Buy pressure-treated lumber. The preservative penetrates the wood more effectively than hand-application and exposure is minimized. However, leaching is a problem and so is future disposal. Do not use pressure-treated wood for raised bed gardens of edible food or in children's play areas. Treatment chemicals may leach into the soil and be absorbed by plants.
For patio furniture, use a water-based clear wood finish, stain or paint instead of using a wood preservative.
For raised bed gardens, use salvaged lumber with no finish, bricks, blocks, plastic lumber or construct without a retainer.