Information for Building Material Dealers and Retailers
Building material dealers and retailers are in the business of providing quality products to builders and homeowners. It's not just about making a quick sale...it's about building relationships with customers so they will keep coming back to buy products they can depend on, and advice from a dealer they can trust. Dealers and retailers specify wood treated to AWPA Standards because they know that preservative manufacturers have submitted data proving their preservative works to a body of experts in the field, and industry standards have been developed based on that data.
Why should I stock wood treated in accordance with AWPA Standards?
In order for a treated wood product to be listed in AWPA Standard U1, a person must submit a proposal for standardization to AWPA. A data package containing all relevant information pertaining to the proposed preservative system must accompany the proposal. The proposal and data are made available to all AWPA Technical Committee Members, all Association members, and upon request, the general public. The proposal is considered by our Technical Committees in an open, ANSI-accredited, consensus-based process, and if passed at all levels of expert peer review, it is published in AWPA's Book of Standards. We believe this degree of review is necessary to weed out preservative systems that may not perform well.
Some companies claim their products "conform" to AWPA, but have not been through the standardization process. What does this mean?
While AWPA does develop test methods which can be used by anyone to evaluate the performance of wood preservatives, you must understand that these tests do not provide pass/fail results, and that the data generated by these methods should be evaluated by experts in wood protection in an open, consensus-based process. In fact, AWPA Evaluation Standards clearly state that they are for the sole purpose of developing AWPA Standards. In addition, Appendix A to our Technical Committee Regulations clearly states that testing in accordance with the document does not constitute conformance with any AWPA Standard. A treated wood product cannot "conform" unless it meets the requirements of and is listed in AWPA Standard U1.
What about products that are advertised as "tested in accordance with AWPA Standards"?
Performing a test without measured results and evaluation by a body of experts in the field really doesn’t mean anything. If a treated wood product is tested in accordance with AWPA standards and the resulting data were deemed adequate by AWPA’s Technical Committees, then the product would be found in AWPA Standard U1. If it's not in the standards, then claims of testing, no matter how credible they seem, cannot possibly mean that a preservative or treated wood product meets, conforms to, or complies with any AWPA Standard.
Have preservatives like CCA or Creosote been banned?
No, CCA or creosote treated wood is still used, but mainly for industrial products, such as utility poles and railroad crossties, and for marine uses, such as piling and bulkhead. Plywood is still treated with CCA, as are other heavy-duty uses. For information on permitted uses of CCA, visit the U.S. EPA's website for CCA or their site for creosote. Other resources on these two preservatives can be found at the websites of the Wood Preservative Science Council, or the Creosote Council.