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Establishment of a laboratory method to characterise the ecotoxicity of a polluted soil
1998 - IRG/WP 98-50101-23
This method consists in using the underground grub of the Oxythyrea funesta beetle as a bioindicator of the soils pollution. Due to the significant tolerance of the organism, a large type of substrate of different nature and grain size could have been studied. We have tested substances and preparations such as wood preservation products even under powder or liquid form but also some wastes of different nature as well as samples of polluted soils. Quick ten days lasting and decisive test, the lecture criteria are from one hand acute, based on death rate but, on another hand subacute. The grubs, when they are used, are in a phase of high development since their weight can increase five times during the test period. The answer to the toxic substances is a drift of the weight variation which enable to obtain more precise results, with much lower doses than acute criteria allow. Taking into account the results already obtained as well as sensitivity, repetability and reproductibility terms, we consider the future of this method with optimism.
P Martinet


Ecotoxicological risks of anti-sapstain preservatives washed off from treated timber
2000 - IRG/WP 00-50144
A field method for ecotoxicity assessment of rain water wash-off from anti-sapstain treated timber was developed. In the course of this study freshly sawn timber treated with 1.5% Busan 30 L (reference preservative) and a control stack with untreated pine were exposed to weathering. The run-off water was ecotoxicologically tested with organisms from three trophic levels (Vibrio fischeri, Kirchneriella subcapitata, Daphnia magna). Results show, that the highest ecotoxicity can be detected immediately after treatment and within the first 4 weeks of storage - depending on the precipitation: high rainfall during the first month of exposure significantly increases ecotoxicity. Covering the treated stack provides sufficient protection of timber against leaching of chemicals and further on significantly minimises the environmental risk. Results suggest either storage of anti-sapstain treated timber in saw mills underneath a roof or, when stored outside, protection of treated stacks by coverage.
G Aschacher, R Gründlinger


An appraisal of methods for environmental testing of leachates from salt-treated wood (2)
1998 - IRG/WP 98-50110
For wood preservatives for use in hazard class 4 information on the ecotoxicity of preservatives and ingredients as well as on the effect of losses from impregnated timber is needed for a proper environmental risk assessment. In the evaluation of a suitable test procedure the leaching behaviour of copper-based formulations was studied using analytical and ecotoxicological test methodology. These studies included an analytical comparison of end grain sealed and not sealed wood blocks. Using sensitive bioindicators in ecotoxicological studies, real effects of the leachates gained from EN 84 were measured. The possibility to use a laboratory test procedure based on the leaching according to EN 84 is shown and discussed for the risk assessment of treated timber.
H W Wegen, A Platen, G M F Van Eetvelde, M Stevens


Environmental behaviour of treated wood in (semi-)permanent contact with fresh or seawater
1998 - IRG/WP 98-50101-20
This study presents a strategy for the environmental toxicity evaluation of treated wood towards the aquatic compartment, using non target water organisms toxicity tests. A lixiviation process is applied on wood (Pinus sylvestris) treated with several wood preservatives formulations. The lixiviation process is carried out in the laboratory with ultrapure water or synthetic seawater. After chemical analysis for the pesticides migration, the leachates are evaluated for their ecotoxicity. For freshwater, the standard ecotoxicological tests on the luminescence bacteria Vibrio fisheri, the microcrustacean Daphnia magna and the green unicellular algae Raphidocelis subcapitata are used. For seawater, marine tests using organisms such as the microcrustacean Artemia salina and the marine alga Phaeodactylum tricornutum are performed. Then, complementary methods for the detection of mutagenic components (genotoxicity) are applied on wood leachates in order to complete the evaluation. The same chemical treatment is therefore evaluated on fresh and seawater through this laboratory methodology applied to treated wood.
P Marchal, C Martin


Tebuconazole - Efficiacy, toxicity, physical properties
1995 - IRG/WP 95-30093
An overview ahout the physical properties and toxicology of tebuconazole as well as an update of efficacy data of this triazole are given.
H-U Buschhaus


Alternative technologies for wood wastes recycling - Part B: Biotreatment of PCP- and creosote-treated wood
1998 - IRG/WP 98-50101-18 b
Alternative technologies have been investigated to detoxify treated wood. Two classes of organic compounds are studied. Creosote-treated wood are classified in France as dangerous wood wastes. A conventional incineration could be provided for these wood wastes but the cost of this elimination could be very high (> 2000 FFR/ton). For these reasons, we have tested two kinds of new processes as alternative ways. The developed strategy is described in this paper and illustrated by a few examples. Part B - The second one is based on an oxidative degradation of organic compounds directly in the wood: oxidative degradation by fungi. Few examples are presented in this paper. Three fungi are tested directly on treated wood. High levels of contaminants are tested around 0.6 g of PCP/kg and 3.7 g of 8 PAH/kg of wood. Few oxidation products generated by this biological treatment are identified. An ecotoxicological assessment is performed to validate this process. Technical feasibility of these developed processes as well as economic aspects are discussed,
S Legay, P Marchal, G Labat


Determination of fixation properties by bioassays - A proposal for the assessment of safety indexes in wood protection
1990 - IRG/WP 3566
In the determination of environmental effects of chemicals tests with fishes, daphnia and algae have proved to be practicable. With respect to wood protection such bioassays are suitable to control effects of treated timber against aquatic organisms. By using the fish-acute-toxicity-test the development of a laboratory test method is described for the checking of the fixation rate of a copper-chromium wood preservative. By this the importance of the observation of a proper fixation period is demonstrated for the use of treated wood in water contact. Estimating ecotoxicological effects of leachable compounds using sensitive bioindicators allows a differentiated determination of environmental risks of impregnated timber. The comparison with the toxic effects of the compounds of a wood preservative are a first step in the assessment of safety indexes in wood protection.
H-W Wegen


Environmental risk assessment of treated wood - A mesocosm study
2005 - IRG/WP 05-50224-8
In order to evaluate the environmental impact of treated poles, we have developed physical models (mesocosms) containing around 250 kg of natural soil and a treated pole. On the top of each mesocosm, a spraying mechanism, which can distribute ultrapure water through several nozzles, was built. On the lower part of each mesocosm, a small tank, which can contain some litres of leachate, was placed. During 2 years, the mesocosms were run in order to obtain leachates and soil samples. The migration of active ingredient from wood to the closed environment was followed with chemical analysis (Cu,Cr, As and B analysis were carried out on soil and leachate samples). In parallel, ecotoxicological analysis were made on the leachates and on the soil samples; environmental impact on soil was also studied through soil microbial activities with biomarkers analysis.
P Marchal, F Poly


Qualifying ecotoxicity research on tropical hardwood leachates
1997 - IRG/WP 97-50096
Almost as a rule, quantification and identification of various types of environmental contamination is grounded on chemical evaluation principles. Yet for monitoring surface water pollution, aquatic bio-assays may provide a more direct way to assess the potential hazard of environmental samples. A battery of such tests is experienced onto leachates of tropical hardwoods used in ground and water contact. Four of seven wood species tested exhibited no acute toxic profile, whilst afzelia, afrormosia and mainly merbau revealed a considerable toxicity response for all organisms tested. These results, although at screening level, demonstrate the natural toxicity of particular tropical hardwood extractives towards the aquatic compartment. Hence, a welcome source of information is obtained, so as to weigh the ecotoxicity results previously gathered on preservative treated wood.
G M F Van Eetvelde, P Marchal, M Stevens


Ecotoxicological behaviour of leachates from superficially treated timber as an approach for a test strategy of environmental risk assessment in wood preservation
1998 - IRG/WP 98-50101-09
At present for wood preservatives, which in Germany are subject to the quality mark of the RAL-Gütegemeinschaft Holzschutzmittel, health and safety as well as environmental aspects are evaluated by official authorities, as BgVV (Federal Institute for Consumer Health Protection and Veterinary Medicine) and the UBA (Federal Environmental Agency). From the environmental point of view to day there are additional requirements concerning the environmental behaviour of RAL-preservatives for timber used in hazard class 3. Information on the ecotoxicity of preservatives and ingredients as well as on the effect of losses from treated timber is requested in general. There is a lack of generally approved and harmonized test procedures in this field of wood preservation assessment. Therefore, a first test model was developed in accordance with the German federal environmental agency. This test procedure follows existing standards on efficacy of wood preservatives such as EN 84 and ecotoxicological testing of chemicals. Otherwise, it takes into account practical aspects of the application of wood preservatives. Ecotoxicological studies using fish, daphnids, green algae and luminescent bacteria as bioindicators were conducted with a range of formulations based on modern biocides. The ecotoxicity of leachates from treated timber is compared with the acute ecotoxicity of the formulations themselves. It becomes obvious, that a clear differentiation must be made between the effects of the formulations and the timber treated with them. In all trophic stages tested, it was shown, that enormous safety factors are existing for properly treated timber. It is possible to use the described test model for an environmental assessment with regard to the European Biocidal Products Directive. If ecotoxicological studies of a wood preservative are in accordance with the designed test model, additional ecotoxicological tests on the product or environmentally relevant components of it can be avoided or justifiably confined to a minimum.
H W Wegen, U J Lucks


Alternative technologies for wood wastes recycling - Part A: Supercritical extraction of PAH compounds from wood wastes
1998 - IRG/WP 98-50101-18 a
Alternative technologies have been investigated to detoxify treated wood. Two classes of organic compounds are studied. Creosote-treated wood are classified in France as dangerous wood wastes. A conventional incineration could be provided for these wood wastes but the cost of this elimination could be very high (> 2000 FFR/ton). For these reasons, we have tested two kinds of new processes as alternative ways. The developed strategy is described in this paper and illustrated by a few examples. Part A - The first one is based on the use of supercritical fluid as C02 to solubilize organic compounds as organochlorine compounds and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (creosote) from treated wood. Kinetics results of this extractive process are presented on the basis of 200 g of wood.
L Schrive, C Perre, G Labat


Tebuconazole - A new triazole fungicide for wood preservation
1990 - IRG/WP 3629
The main cause of economic damage to timber and millwork worldwide are Basidiomycetes (brown and white rot). After testing a wide range of triazole derivatives for their effectiveness against decay fungi, Tebuconazole, a triazole compound, was selected. The physico-chemical, toxicological and ecotoxicological data of this substance are described. Tebuconazole is unleachable, light-stable, heat-stable and suitable for use in both solvent-borne and water-borne formulations. Tests carried out by official institutes show that Tebuconazole is resistant to both leaching and evaporation. Toxic values measured in accordance with EN 113 and EN 73 (e.g. Gloeophyllum trabeum: 0.03-0.08 kg/m³ a.i.) reveals the great potential of Tebuconazole to protect treated wood against decay fungi.
R Gründlinger, O Exner


Assessment of the environmental impacts in life cycle analysis
1995 - IRG/WP 95-50040-31
Evaluation of environmental impacts is of crucial importance nowadays but it is a complex problem. Different methodologies have been proposed for the last 20 years such as the "Life Cycle Assessment" (LCA) approach. Life Cycle Assessment is an evalution tool of the impacts on the environment of a system including the whole activities associated with, from the extraction of the raw materials to the elimination of the waste. LCA are usually considered in a generic way on the basis of potential global effects, as the involved processes occur anywhere in the world. This approach is handling emerging problems such as global warming, ozone depletion. However handling this global approach for human toxicity, aquatic ecotoxicity or terrestrial ecotoxicity is totally conventional and is not relevant of any factual effect. Considering human toxicity and ecotoxicity in a Life Cycle Assessment might require to perform it at a different scale (local or regional) as well as to record the inventory data separately for each site to enable impact assessment at a local scale.
I Blanc-Sommereux


FLUROX, a new breakthrough in insect control for wood preservation
1995 - IRG/WP 95-30079
FLUROX (flufenoxuron) is an acylurea insecticide which acts as a growth regulator in insects. FLUROX inhibits the production of chitin - the exoskeleton or 'skin' of the insect. When the exposed larva attempt to moult to its next stage of development, it is unable to produce a new skin and dies. FLUROX has been found to be extremely active against wood borers, when applied in a preventive or curative way. FLUROX shows a safe toxicological and ecotoxicological profile. FLUROX is considered to be a new breakthrough insecticide for wood preservation.
A R Valcke, M Pallaske


Biological and chemical investigations for the assessment of the environmental impact of wood preservative components
1999 - IRG/WP 99-50127
This study was carried out in order to investigate the suitability of biological and chemical techniques to evaluate the environmental impact of wood preservatives depleted from impregnated wood. Small specimens (15*25*50 mm3) of Scots pine sapwood (Pinus sylvestris) were treated with a CCB salt. After fixation the treated and untreated samples were washed-out according EN 84, and the different leachates were added continuously on the top of soil columns (lysimeters). The pure wood preservative was used as a reference. After certain time intervals the eluate was separated and the content of ions was analysed. A couple of these solutions were selected to determine their toxicity against luminescent bacteria and daphnia. First results show that the solutions containing the pure wood preservative show highest toxicity against the aquatic micro-organisms used in this test. The values for the leachate containing wood preservative are comparable with data for the wood preservative-free solution. The results clarify that the analytical measurements well correspond with the biological tests on ecotoxicity.
E Melcher, H-W Wegen


Ecotox Testing of Leachates as an Alternative Approach for Environmental Impact Assessment of Wood Preservatives
2002 - IRG/WP 02-50185
Driven by the implementation of the EU Biocidal Product Directive (BPD) in the environmental assessment of treated wood different methodologies and test strategies are at present under discussion within industry, regulatory authorities and standardizing comittees. Test procedures for the analytical determination of emissions to different environmental compartments according to exposure scenarios are suggested for international harmonization. In addition ´fate and behaviour´ modelling as well as the PEC/PNEC consideration are proposed to produce an environmental risk assessment of treated wood. As an alternative approach direct ecotoxicological testing of leachates is presented with leachates from solvent based preservatives treated timber as example. Daphnids as very sensitive bioindicators exhibited differences due to the included biocides of the preservative formulation tested as well as the leaching procedure used. The methodology of direct ecotoxicological testing as an alternative to PEC/PNEC comparison is discussed for suitability in wood preservation.
H-W Wegen


Aquatic toxicity research of structural materials
1998 - IRG/WP 98-50114
Continuing from preliminary results reported on the aquatic toxicity of some tropical hardwoods under high hazard conditions, a more comprehensive research study is set-up in order to assess the environmental toxicology of various structural materials in water applications. Hazard class 4 preservative treated wood is tested for its toxic response on a battery of aquatic test organisms, next to concrete and plastic and a selection of tropical hardwoods used in waterworks. The results reveal a wide range of toxicity responses covering tropical and treated timbers, the alternative materials bearing a considerably lower toxic profile. Still, a general observation is found in the enhanced inhibition of algal growth for all structural materials.
G M F Van Eetvelde, S De Geyter, P Marchal, M Stevens


A review of the current status of the estimation of emissions from preserved wood and their use in the environmental risk assessment of wood preservatives under the Biocidal Products Directive
2005 - IRG/WP 05-50224-7
A review and update of the status of the issues concerning the estimation of emissions from preserved wood (e.g. amendments to the proposed ‘OECD Guidelines’), and the environmental risk assessment of wood preservatives under the Biocidal Products Directive (e.g. compartmental sizes, emissate ecotoxicity testing).
E F Baines


Environmental impact of PCP and NaPCP in the aquatic and atmospheric compartment
1995 - IRG/WP 95-50040-06
PCP and NaPCP were studied for their aquatic toxicity on bacteria, microalgae and daphnids and for their behaviour in the atmospheric compartment with a climatic chamber. Results of aquatic toxicity bioassays showed that toxicity was higher at low pH. This can be explained by the pKa value of 4.7 of PCP and the higher concentration of the non dissociated form of the pesticide at more acidic pH. Volatilization of pentachlorophenol was studied with wood samples treated with PCP in organic solvent or aqueous solution of NaPCP. Test procedures were investigated in a first step. It appears that a period of three weeks minimum after impregnation must be respected before sampling the wood specimens and that the ratio m²/m³ has to be in good agreement with the saturated vapor pressure concentration. These recommandations would imply improvement of some conditions of the French norm NF X 41-566. The release of pentachlorophenol from wood samples treated with PCP was much higher than with wood treated with NaPCP. The different behaviours of PCP and NaPCP suggest that these substances should be considered distinctly.
P Marchal, P Vasseur, G Ozanne


Ecotoxicity of furfurylated wood – Effect of leachate on aquatic bacteria
2008 - IRG/WP 08-50250
Environmental concern regarding the use of toxic preservatives such as CCA (chromated copper arsenate) has been put forward. In the EU, USA and Japan, CCA is now phased out for residential use and for use in water contact. Several ecotoxicological studies of wood treated with conventional preservatives were carried out in the late 1990s. In these studies it was concluded that the main impact is to water and thereby to aquatic organisms. Today, alternatives to conventional preservation, marketed as “environmentally friendly” or “non-toxic” are emerging on the market. Examples of such alternatives are modified wood, e.g. thermally modified, furfurylated and acetylated wood. So far, not enough ecotoxicological studies have been done on these new methods. In the presented study the Microtox assay with the marine bacterium Vibrio fischeri are used as a screening method. Vibrio fischeri were exposed to water leachates from furfurylated wood using two different leaching procedures. The results from the OECD 2 standard test show that Kebony 2 (one of the commercially used furfurylation processes) treated Scots pine have a lower toxicity than all the other samples at all points and that it is the lowest at every point for Radiata pine as well. The explanation might be that there is an immobilization of slightly toxic wood extractives by incorporation in the furan polymer. The lower toxicity for Kebony 2 than for Kebony 1 might be a result of the intermediate vacuum drying step for Kebony 2 that leads to a more efficient curing/polymerisation and less hydrophobic oligomers of a type that may be slightly toxic.
A Pilgård, M Westin


Uncertainty in life cycle assessment of preservative treated wood – copper and freshwater ecotoxicity
2017 - IRG/WP 17-50331
Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a method for quantifying the environmental impacts of a product over the life cycle. In the last years, there have been a growing application of LCA in developments of environmental product declaration (EPD), which is utilised by professional procurement of materials for buildings. For legislative issues, LCA have also been used to assess application of creosote to treat wood products for considering if there are better alternatives. In the last decade, there has also been an attempt from European Commission (EC) to harmonise LCA in application as simplified consumer information for products. The use of LCA for construction products have undergone extensive standardisation in CEN to ensure reliable results, but toxicity indicators are not yet implemented due to high uncertainties. For leaching of wood preservatives, the uncertainty is two fold. The actual leaching over several years can be hard to predict, but the characterisation factors (CF) can potentially have even higher uncertainty. To deal with this uncertainty, the USEtox model have been developed and is recommended by the EC. There are few LCA studies that include USEtox on wood preservatives and the objective of the study was to assess which effect the uncertainty of CF can have. For freshwater ecotoxicity of copper, the study finds that the site-dependent uncertainty of CF are very important and can dominate the LCA of treated wood.
L G F Tellnes