• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • r ranson
  • Nicole Alderman
  • Joseph Lofthouse
  • paul wheaton
  • Mike Haasl
master gardeners:
  • jordan barton
  • John F Dean
  • Carla Burke
  • Greg Martin
  • Jay Angler
  • Leigh Tate
  • thomas rubino

Tanalith / Tanalized timber - paint over to reduce toxicity?

Posts: 36
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Unfortunately I have to use some Tanalised timber for certain parts of my home, such as windows and exterior weatherboards (long story - don't ask!). Tanalith is a wood preserver made from chromium, copper and arsenic.

I'm concerned about little hands coming into contact with the stuff, and then going in little mouths, etc. Most manufacturer websites even now state that it should not be used where it will likely come in contact with hands (e.g. hand rails), so I know my concerns are not without justification.

According to the web you can paint over Tanalith once it is dry. Does anyone have any views on whether this will make it somewhat safer?
Posts: 236
Location: Seattle, WA
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The more recent research shows that there is less risk than previously thought: These results show that there is no significant difference in the concentration or speciation of arsenic between the samples from children playing on CCA and non-CCA [wood].. The EPA will likely update their requirements for manufacturer labeling in the future to take this into account.

With that being said, I always avoid using treated wood when possible because I figure it is better to be save than sorry. Exterior grade paint will provide a non-permeable barrier that should reduce any potential exposure.
Posts: 2413
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hello N.T.,

I guess first...I do have to ask why you..."have to..." use this type of wood...or think you do? I can't think of to many places other than a rental property and an obstinate landlord that insists on its use. If that's the case I am sorry, but again question the validity of "mandating" it be used around children of any living space.

Can it be sealed?...There are several questionable modality of promise in the realm of "natural finishes" that may be serviceable to you.. With some patience and several coats of home mixed flax and/or tung oil paint you may achieve some "sealing" effect. Several coats of any lime wash or milk paint may also render some protection as well.

In general many of the newer "ptw" are less harmful than in the past, and only the sawdust from cutting it is of great concern. The reason it is not promoted on sites like this and should not be used "at all" is the very toxic industries behind its manufacture and the reality that it does not offer the protection it calms any better, than many natural species of wood...often much less.


N Taylor
Posts: 36
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks Tom and Jay C.

Jay C - I think your question warrants an entirely new thread - keep and eye out I will be creating it shortly under the finishes section.
100th Issue of Permaculture Magazine
will be released to subscribers in: soon!
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic