IRG Documents Database and Compendium

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Wood preservation and the environment: A Canadian perspective
1990 - IRG/WP 3577
The non-pressure (surface) and pressure treatment of wood impacts on the environment in four ways. These are: through the production of treated wood at sawmills and pressure treating facilities; during the storage of treated wood prior to use; when the pressure treated wood is placed in service; and finally, when the treated product reaches the end of its useful life and must be disposed. By reference to current and past Canadian wood preserving practices, the impact of concern by environmentalists on future directions for the wood preserving industry is reviewed. "Information gaps" are identified, which must be filled if the general public's perception of wood preservation as being beneficial to society is to be maintained. The need for internationally agreed criteria for the approval of new preservatives is also identified.
J N R Ruddick

Canadian code of good practices - Recommendations for design and operation of wood preservation facilities
1990 - IRG/WP 3582
The rationale and procedures for the development of a set of recommendations for design and operation of wood preservation facilities in Canada are discussed. Multi stake holders involvement in problem identification, problem assessment, state of the art knowledge database, implementation and periodic assessment procedures are important considerations for the successful development of a Code of Good Practices for wood preservation facilities.
V N P Mathur, G Das

Utility pole recycling and disposal in Eastern Canada
1990 - IRG/WP 3587
Increasing public awareness, prompted by environmental groups such as Greenpeace, concerning the use and disposal of treated wood is becoming a serious issue in Canada. Producers and user groups of treated Pentachlorophenol (PCP) utility poles are at the forefront of public, government and media attention. If, as expected, further limitations on the use and disposal of PCP by the public are imposed, the producers and users of this material will have to find alternative means of the means of pole disposal.
S D Henry

The registration of wood preservatives in Canada
1977 - IRG/WP 394
The Pest Control Products Act in Canada is a part of Federal Agricultural legislation affecting chemicals for wood protection. Other parts of Federal legislation include Canadian Fisheries Act, Fed. Food and Drug act, Environmental Contaminants Act, Clear Air Act, Navigable Waters Protection Act and the Criminal Code Section 165. Some of the main excerpts from the Pest Control Products Act are as follows: The Pest Control Products Act of November 10, 1972, deals with the Regulations for the pest control products. Pest control products are defined as any product, organism, device, substance or thing that may be used directly or indirectly to control, prevent, destroy, mitigate, attract or repel pests. Such products are classified for domestic use, commercial use or restricted use depending upon toxicological parameters. Control products exempt from the Act are those to control viruses, bacteria, micro-organisms and anthropods, that are subject to the Food and Drugs Act. The Regulations of the Act do not apply to a control product imported into Canada for the importer´s own use, not exceeding one pound by weight, one pint by volume or value $10.
J Rak, J K Shields

A report on the development of "Technical Recommendations Document for the Canadian wood preservation and protection facilities"
1987 - IRG/WP 3447
The wood preservation and wood protection industry uses chemicals which are similar. However, because the methods of applications of preservatives are different in wood preservation (pressure treatment) and wood protection (surface treatment) plants, their problems need to be resolved separately. As a part of a federal strategy to protect the environment and human health from potentially toxic commercial chemicals in use in Canada, Environment Canada (EC) decided to develop Technical Recommendations (TR) documents for the Canadian Wood Protection and Preservation facilities. These TR documents define design and operational measures which will protect the environment and worker health. The measures are based on current knowledge of existing technology and current knowledge of physical, chemical and biological properties of the preservative chemicals. A significant amount of background information has been included in the TR documents in order to provide readers with the factual basis which supports the suggested designs and recommended operational practices. Although the recommendations are specific, the focus is on achieving the objectives of protecting the environment and workers from harmful exposure to preservative chemicals. Site-specific circumstances may require the modification of certain recommendations in order to best achieve these objectives.
G Das, V N P Mathur

Pentachlorophenol - The US and Canadian experience
1995 - IRG/WP 95-50040-26
Pentachlorophenol ("Penta") is a highly effective and economical wood preservative. The principal use in the United-States and Canada is pressure-treatment of wood; major applications are for railroad ties, pilings, posts, cross arms, and poles. Treatment of wood products with pentachlorophenol typically extends the functional life of wood by at least eight times. Because of the presence of certain trace impurities produced during the pentachlorophenol manufacturing process, notably hexachlorodioxins ("HxCDDs"), the use of pentachlorophenol has been subject to intense regulatory scrutiny. Animal studies have shown that HxCDDs, when administered in toxic amounts, are fetotoxic, teratogenic, and carcinogenic. In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") instituted a regulatory proceeding in October 1978 that considered cancellation of all pentachlorophenol pesticide registrations. After extensive review, the EPA declined to take such action. Instead, in 1986, EPA decided to limit the HxCDD levels to no more than 4 ppm per batch with an average of no more than 2 ppm for all batches shipped per month. EPA took additional measures to ensure that use of pentachlorophenol for wood preservation would not cause unreasonable risks to the public or the environment. A parallel proceeding in Canada resulted in the Canadian Government adopting a regulatory program essentially identical to that of the United States. The U.S. and Canadian experience reflects recognition by these regulatory bodies that the appropriate mechanism for addressing pentachlorophenol concerns is not to ban the important uses of the pesticide, but to ensure that those uses are properly managed to minimize exposures. The agencies arrived at that determination after a comprehensive evaluation of the inherent toxicity of pentachlorophenol, reductions in risk achievable through appropriate risk management measures, and the significant economic and societal benefits of pentachlorophenol as a wood preservative. Since that time there have been a number of new studies on pentachlorophenol that further confirm that Penta can be safely and responsibly used for wood preservation without causing adverse effects to health or the environment.
J Wilkinson

Wood preservation in Canada - Regulation and Registration
2001 - IRG/WP 01-50166-02
The Canadian wood preservation industry is at a critical juncture now as a number of initiatives converge on the industry over the next few years. Issues facing the industry include: Re-evaluation of the conventional wood preservative chemicals - inorganic arsenicals, creosote and pentachlorophenol targeted for July 2001. Delayed registration of new actives as a result of re-evaluation activity and priority. ?Implementation of the Environment Canada "Strategic Options" recommendations for preservative components considered "toxic" under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, including hexavalent chromium, arsenic, PAH contaminated wastes, benzene hexachloride, dioxins and furans. Updating of the Technical Recommendation Documents for the design and operation of wood treating plants (now complete). The backgrounds, implementation, interactions and impacts of these initiatives on the Canadian Wood Preservation Industry are discussed.
P A Cooper

Status of the research and development of a new preservative system (EFPL) for pressure treatment of spruce in Canada
1975 - IRG/WP 348
Our work has been to develop a system which would have the stability of the ACA system and the formulation flexibility of the CCA system enabling properties such as fixation of arsenic, water repellency, appearance and cost to be controlled. Our permeability studies of spruce using a method previously developed indicated that an ammoniacal solution of copper arsenate is an excellent candidate for the treatment of spruce. Studies of the permeability of spruce sapwood microsections to CCA preservative and to an ammoniacal solution of copper arsenate proved that the ammoniacal system penetrates 1.7 to 1.8 times faster than the CCA system, in the radial direction. The permeability in the tangential direction was on the average 3.8 times better. These results were confirmed by pressure treatments of spruce lumber and spruce roundwood with both preservatives.
J Rak, M R Clarke

Marine testing of selected waterborne preservatives
1987 - IRG/WP 4137
In 1978 a marine test was established at West Vancouver, B C. to determine the performance of selected waterborne preservatives. The preservatives in test were chromated-copper-arsenate (CCA-C), ammoniacal copper arsenate (ACA), a modified formulation of ACA which contained a higher copper content (modified ACA), ammoniacal copper zinc arsenate (ACZA) and ammoniacal zinc arsenate (AZA). The wood species used for the test was red pine. After eight years in test the CCA is providing excellent performance at all retentions, while the modified ACA is showing significant deterioration only at the lowest level. The ACA is performing quite well although it shows signs of surface deterioration at all retention levels. The performance of the ACZA is rated as unsatisfactory at retentions below 32 kg/m³ while AZA was considered to be unsuitable for use in the marine environment.
J N R Ruddick

The applicability of life cyle analysis and alternative methods in the wood preservation industry
1994 - IRG/WP 94-50023
In the Netherlands, several case studies have been performed using the life cycle analysis method (LCA). This type of research is aimed at an inventory and classification (sometimes including also evaluation) of the environmental impacts of a product, from the raw material to waste stage ("cradle to grave" approach). In a LCA each environmental impact is assessed in terms of, for example, mass of raw material use (kg), energy consumption (MJ), emissions (COx, NOX, SOx, etc.) and final waste (in kg). The critical point in an LCA is the definition of comparable "functional units" for similar products made of different materials with different service lifes. As the LCA method has often proved to be very complex, lime-consuming, expensive and difficult to interpret and translate into practically usefull results, alternative methods are developed. Three methods are described and compared on the basis of various examples. It is hoped that this may be of use as a starting point for further discussion on the suitability of applying the LCA on (preservative treated) timber products.
P Esser, J Cramer

Organic solvent preservatives. Essays on the ecotoxicology of new formulations
1991 - IRG/WP 3642
The knowledge on the ecotoxicological profile of wood preservatives become more and more important. The acute toxicity against aquatic organisms was examined for oil-borne preservatives, based on combinations of new fungicides (Tebuconazole, Propiconazole, Dichlofluanid) and insecticides (Permethrin, Cyfluthrin). These tests were conducted with fish, daphnia and algae. In principle the different formulations showed similar effects. The results of active ingredients and solvents confirmed the high sensitiveness of daphnia as test organisms. Criteria for hazards for the environment are presented and discussed.
H-W Wegen

IRG - wood preservation - annual report 1999; wood preservation in Slovak Republic
2000 - IRG/WP 00-40192
This report gives basic information about wood preservation in Slovak Republic, related to the wood preservation research and education, to the most important wood-destroying organisms, to the wood preserving industry, and also to the problems of standards, market and environment.
L Reinprecht

Bioaccumulation of pentachlorophenol in rainbow trout and zebra fish muscles
1986 - IRG/WP 3372
The bioaccumulation of pentachlorophenol in Rainbow Trout and Zebra fish has been evaluated by partition coefficient n-octanol/water determination at ph 7 and measured in vivo according to the OECD guidelines and the European directive 79/831/EEC. The obtained results confirm the low bioaccumulation potential of this product in aquatic organims.
J C Palla, M Dion

Modélisation sur maquette du rejet accidentel d'un gaz toxique et inflammable dans l'atmosphere - Emission de type "bouffée d'oxyde d'éthyléne [Water model simulation of toxic and flammable gases in the environment on industrial sites - Puff of ethylen oxide]
1990 - IRG/WP 3576
M Milhe

Abstracts of papers prepared for the Symposium “Environment and wood preservation”
2001 - IRG/WP 01-60135
IRG Secretariat

Supplement to Document No: IRG/WP/56. Health and safety aspects of the use of wood preservatives
1975 - IRG/WP 356
H Willeitner

Spruce lumber treatments with ammoniacal solutions of inorganic preservatives
1977 - IRG/WP 391
As a part of our work in the Wood Preservation group at the Eastern Forest Products Laboratory in Ottawa to facilitate exploitation of spruce, which is a large timber resource in Canada, we have been studying the treatability of spruce roundwood. A report on this subject was presented to this group last year. More recently, another commodity - spruce timber - has been rapidly gaining the interest of wood treaters, mainly because of its potential use in permanent wooden foundations. We identified this trend and extended our research work to the treatability of spruce lumber.
R Rak

Modelling of PCP migration in the environment: Feeding the models with laboratory data
1993 - IRG/WP 93-50001-08
In 1989, Hydro-Québec began a study program on pentachlorophenol (PCP) to ensure safe use of the product at all stages. One of the aspects of the study is the creation of a predictive system for evaluating the behavior of PCP and oil migration from wood poles to the environment. This system comprises four mathematical models for predicting PCP and oil migration in and on the surface of the pole, in soil and in groundwater, and for predicting runoff. Laboratory experiments aimed at quantifying and supplying the input for each model have been designed. A method of analyzing both PCP and oil in water. wood and soil has been developed. The radial and longitudinal distributions of PCP and oil concentrations have been established for several combinations of wood species and treatments. Laboratory setups and preliminary results are presented.
A Besner, P Tétreault, R Gilbert

CEN Draft (38 N 460E) Standard: Test method for determining the protective effectiveness of a preservative in the marine environment
1986 - IRG/WP 4132
This European Standard describes a marine test method which provides a basis for asseasing the effectiveness of a wood preservative used to prevent attack of timber in sea-water by marine borers. The method is only suitable for testing preservatives which are intended to prevent attack by marine wood boring organisms of treated timber for use in more or less permanent contact with sea-water. It is not suitable for assessing the effectiveness of preservatives against micro-organisms. The main objective of the method described is to evaluate the relative effectiveness of a wood preservative applied by vacuum/pressure impregnation. For this reason permeable timbers are used throughout so that the protective efficacy of various retentions of the preservative can be determined. However, it is recognized that modifications of the method may be used for other purposes, e.g. to determine the relative efficacy of a preservative treatment or to determine the natural durability of the heartwood and sapwood of a selected timber species. The method is primarily intended for testing in temperate waters where Teredine and Limnoria borers dominate. However, it is also capable of being used in tropics where attack by Pholads and specific Crustacean borers may be very destructive. It has to be considered that the test has to be run for a minimum period (usually for 5 years or until the point of failure) before any interpretation of the results can be made. Variations in the test conditions can be expected from one test site to another depending on temperature, salinity, population density of the various borer species etc. This will inevitably influence the general rate of attack. However, by comparing the results obtained for samples treated with the test product with those obtained with a reference preservative and those obtained with untreated control samples, the relative protective effectiveness of the product tested can be evaluated.
G Castan

Biofouling and bioresistance of bamboo in marine environment
2003 - IRG/WP 03-10482
Proudly known as “green gold” and popularly called as “poor man’s timber”, bamboo is closely interwoven with the life of scores of people around the globe because of its versatile qualities and desirable strength properties as a structural material. It is used for innumerable purposes both on land and in water including seas and brackishwater bodies. "Presently, bamboos constitute an important raw material, and are vital to the economy of many countries" (John et al, 1995). In the words of Hanke (1990), "it is difficult to exaggerate the importance of bamboo as a structural raw material for most of human kind". "The 500-plus species are scattered throughout the warmer parts of the world, but the family achieves greatest abundance and most impressive luxuriance around the southern and southeastern edge of Asia, from the Indian monsoon region through China and Japan to Korea". Annually, about 4.56 million tons of bamboo from 30 genera comprising of 136 species is exploited in India alone (Anonymous, 1989). A vast quantity of it is used in the marine sector as fishing rods, sail masts, stakenet poles, mariculture cages and poles, fishing screens, fishing net supports, fish traps, fish baskets, floats for nets, floating rafts, floating fenders, floating platforms, etc., right from conventional capture fisheries to the most modern mariculture operations (Purushotham, 1963, Suri and Chauhan, 1984 and Santhakumaran and Sawant, 1993). Use of 30 lakh culms of bamboo per year for strikingly large screens of up to 10 Km and several other devices was reported by Satyanarayana Rao et al (1992) from Kolleru Lake in Andhra Pradesh, India, where brackishwater conditions prevail during certain seasons/in certain pockets. Similarly, bamboo cages of varying dimensions from 4 x 4 x 5 m to 50 x 5 x 5 m are reported to be employed for open ocean culture of fishes in Kampuchea, Indonesia and Thailand (Nayak, 2001). In all these utilities, bamboo is mostly used in untreated form. Yet, precise data on biofouling and bioresistance of different species of bamboo under marine conditions are not available except for isolated reports like that of Santhakumaran and Sawant (1993). Therefore, studies in this direction were taken up. Initially three widely used commercial Indian species of bamboo were tested and their performance is presented in this paper.
M V Rao, M Balaji, V Kuppusamy, K S Rao

La rôle de l'expert dans l'évaluation toxicologique
1990 - IRG/WP 3589
C Boudene

Rates of emission from CCA-treated wood in the marine environment: measurement, modelling and requirements for further research
2001 - IRG/WP 01-50166-12
Accurate estimates of rates of emission of leachate from preservative treated wood are crucial for realistic predictions of the environmental impact of its use in maritime construction. Estimates are available for some commonly used preservatives, but these vary widely. Though variable, these measurements suggest that emission generally decreases exponentially with time. Part of the variation is due to differences in methodology employed. Physical and chemical characteristics of the seawater used (e.g. temperature, salinity, pH and oxygen content) affect emission rate. So too do the specifics of the treatment process especially the preservative formulation used, and pre- and post-treatment handling of the wood. The nature of the treated wood samples is also important, with misleadingly high estimates being obtained from samples with unrepresentatively high proportions of cross-cut surfaces. A suggested strategy for developing an informative and standardised methodology is discussed. To form useful models of impacts of leaching, emission rates need to be considered in conjunction with site-specific information regarding a) water exchange rates between the area where leaching occurs and the sea, and b) the extent of partitioning of leachate between the water column, biota and sediment. The risk of environmental impact may be reduced by modification to treatment procedures and by careful planning of installation.
S M Cragg, C J Brown, R A Albuquerque, R A Eaton

Système informatisé d'aide à la décision pour la gestion de la migration du pentachlorophénol dans l'environnement
1993 - IRG/WP 93-50001-10
This paper describes a Decision Support System (DSS), concerning pentachlorophenol (PCP) migration in the environment. The principal objectives of the DSS are to assist managers in siting of PCP-treated poles in the Hydro-Québec system and the storage areas and in the treatment of customer complaints. Four mathematical models are incuded in the system: a model simulating migration inside and on the surface of the pole, a model simulating migration in soil, a model simulating runoff and a model simulating migration in groundwater. Factors influencing the migration of PCP in the environment are discussed.
G Lefebvre, J-C Tessier

Assessment of losses of wood preservatives from treated wood by leaching into the environment
1993 - IRG/WP 93-50001-13
Wood preservative chemicals may be lost from treated timber by leaching into water or soil. The degree to which this might occur and its effect on the environment is difficult to assess quantitatively due to the absence of appropriate test methods. This paper describes work to assess test methodology capable of allowing the rates of loss of wood preservative from treated timber to be quantified. The possibility of adapting simple laboratory equipment to monitor preservative losses from treated wood has been investigated. Losses due to leaching from selected faces of treated wood blocks when immersed in water have been monitored, using disodium octaborate as a model water-soluble preservative. The investigation has demonstrated the importance of distinguishing between transverse, radial and tangential surfaces when considering potential losses and the subsequent likely environmental impact of treated timber in service.
R J Orsler, G E Holland

Testing of alkylammonium compounds
1981 - IRG/WP 2152
Following laboratory soil block tests which showed that Bardac 20 possessed a fungicidal threshold similar to that of chromated copper arsenate, treated ponderosa pine sapwood stakes were installed in a field test site near Vancouver, Canada. Two years after installation all the stakes show signs of fungal degradation. Seven stakes have been removed from the test due to total loss of strength after only two years, and many others are near failure due to extensive decay. It may be concluded from this study, that under the conditions of the test, Bardac 20 has failed to prevent wood-destroying fungi from decaying the stakes. Further investigation of treated "check" stakes and failed field tested stakes has revealed an uneven distribution of the chemical in some stakes treated to low retentions.
J N R Ruddick

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