[Market-farming] pressure treated organic?

Maurice Smith maurice at chibardun.net
Mon Nov 12 10:17:51 EST 2007

No it is not acceptable for organic production.


Maurice Smith

DragSmith Farms

Barron, WI


-----Original Message-----
From: market-farming-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:market-farming-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of road's end
Sent: 11/10/2007 6:50 PM
To: Market Farming
Subject: Re: [Market-farming] pressure treated organic?


On Nov 10, 2007, at 7:20 PM, E C GRANATA wrote:

Folks:  Does anyone know if pressure treated wood is acceptable for organic
production?  The label makes it sound lethal-- don't cut it without a mask,
don't burn it, dispose of it according to EPA  protocols!  I picked some up
from Craig's list and didn't realize till I got it home and found a label
that it was treated.
Thanks for any information.

This is probably not acceptable, though it might depend on exactly what
you're proposing to do with it. The standards say (205.206 f):

"The producer must not use lumber treated with arsenate or other prohibited
materials for new installations or replacement purposes in contact with soil
or livestock".

If in doubt, check with a local certifier about the specific treatment and
use. The label should say what it's been treated with. Some uses, such as
materials for buildings when the treated wood doesn't come in direct contact
with the crop, or fences not in contact with livestock, might be OK; but
don't rely on me, I might be misreading the NOFA-NY guidance on this.

I think some of the more poisonous treatments are no longer legal for sale,
even aside from organic production questions; but some of that stuff may
still be floating around, even if it's supposed to be off the market. I
don't know how toxic or nontoxic the newer materials are, or whether there
are any newer materials that have been approved for some organic purposes;
but the last time (a couple of years ago, I think) I asked whether there was
any approved treatment for vineyard posts, I was told to use either
untreated wood or metal for the posts.

Also, you might in any case want to be cautious about using any material
with a label telling you not to cut it without a mask, if the wood will be
where any humans, animals, or crops may be exposed; as the materials
generally leach out of the wood for some time.

-- Rivka; Finger Lakes NY, Zone 5 mostly
Fresh-market organic produce, small scale

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