Standards for Treated Wood?

March 11, 2009

Birmingham, Alabama (MMD Newswire) March 6, 2009 ‰ Have you been confused by recent information about treated wood standards? Several statements regarding the efficacy of wood preservatives containing sub-micron-sized copper particles (often referred to as “micronized” copper) have been released by various wood-preservative manufacturers. Most of these press releases refer to American Wood-Preservers’ Association (AWPA) Standards; as a result, AWPA has received many inquiries about these preservatives. Based on assertions made in the press releases, it seems that a large number of people now assume that the “micronized” wood-preservative systems have been evaluated and approved by AWPA. Unfortunately, these assumptions are not true.

AWPA’s Technical Committees develop several types of Standards. AWPA Evaluation Standards are developed to test wood preservatives for the purpose of submitting the resulting data to Technical Committees; however, because AWPA Evaluation Standards yield valuable information, they’re frequently used for purposes other than AWPA’s standardization process. When used outside of AWPA, this information is not subject to the same degree of expert review provided by AWPA’s open, consensus-based process, which is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). AWPA’s Analytical Standards are developed to determine the presence and amount of preservatives in wood, but they don’t provide any indication as to whether or not a preservative will effectively protect a wood product.

To date, no data supporting the effectiveness of “micronized” copper systems have been submitted to AWPA for evaluation or standardization. The only treated-wood products reviewed and standardized by AWPA are those listed in AWPA Standard U1. When statements are made that a treated wood product has been tested in accordance with AWPA Standards, it doesn’t mean that the product meets or conforms to any AWPA Standard unless that product is listed in AWPA Standard U1. An excerpt from Standard U1 can be downloaded from AWPA welcomes the submission of proposals and supporting data for any wood-protection system for review by its Technical Committees for the purpose of listing it in AWPA Standards.

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