Wood and wooden logs are used to prepare various items, which are also used in daily life. Products like –

  • Furniture
  • Deck
  • Log house
  • Structures and dwellings
  • Containers
  • Timbers
  • Equipment
  • Poles, fence, and rails

Generally, fresh logs are used to prepare these products, but before manufacturing the wood is treated to avoid any rooting or decaying in future.

When wood is left exposed to outdoor conditions, it becomes vulnerable to decay and degradation due to natural environmental conditions. Therefore, it should be protected from insects and decaying by applying chemical preservatives on it. Wood preservatives are a type of chemical r pesticide which is used only by certified applicators. EPA approves only those chemicals that aren’t toxic.

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The treatment process and products used for wood preservation impact people and the environment. Therefore, the treatment process is done outside. Even if it isn’t toxic, it still contains some chemicals which may have a certain reaction to the skin, eye, nose, ears, etc. Some preservatives are intolerant to food contact objects like wooden crates, shelves, while some are tolerant, therefore the manufacturer has to be careful while choosing a wood preservative chemical.

Types of Wood Preservative Chemicals

Older wood preservatives were identified as toxic, which impacts the health of people and the environment. All wood preservatives are now amended and new products are derived –

  • Xeolith Lithium Silicates make the wood fire resistant. The wood is soaked in the solution of silicate and then it is treated with carbon dioxide for a layer of silicon dioxide polymer.
  • Cuprous thiocyanate is an antifouling agent that is used for marine products. When it is blended with sodium pyrithione or copper pyrithione it creates anti-bacterial and anti-algae properties.
  • Sodium pyrithione is used to prevent mildew and bacteria on objects. It is used on architecture coatings, sealants, pesticides, leather products, textiles, metal fluids, hair care, detergents, disinfectants, and antifungal dermatology drugs.
  • Copper pyrithione produces anti-bacterial and anti-algae properties when it is mixed with cuprous thiocyanate. It is used as an anti-fouling marine paint, coatings, pesticides, and metal processing because of its low toxicity and high efficiency.
  • Zinc pyrithione is used as an anti-fouling agent when combined with cuprous oxide. It is used on marine products to prevent crustaceans, seaweeds, and aquatic organisms.
  • Arsenic Trioxide is used to manufacture copper chrome arsenate which is used to prevent insects, wood rotting, and fungus that damages timber and its structure.

Any timber that is in contact with the ground or wet conditions should be saturated with wood preservatives. Other areas of woodwork can be treated by brushing several coats of wood preservatives. The pieces of wood that are treated should be soaked in chemicals for at least 10 minutes. However, before treatment, sawing, cutting, drilling, sanding, boring wood should be done.

Even if EPA approves some of the wood preservatives, it is still wise to wear gloves and masks before using those chemicals and touching freshly treated timber.

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