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Think Twice Before Using Pressure-Treated Wood for Sandboxes: The Dangerous Truth

Think Twice Before Using Pressure-Treated Wood for Sandboxes: The Dangerous Truth

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Sandboxes are a fun and creative way to spend time outdoors. But when it comes to building one, the type of wood used is an important consideration.

One option to consider is pressure-treated wood. But can you use pressure-treated wood for a sandbox? Is it safe? Let’s find out.

What Is Pressure Treated Wood?

Pressure-treated lumber is a type of wood that gets injected with chemical preservatives to protect it from rot, decay, and termite damage.

The process involves placing the wood in a cylindrical tank and then applying a high level of pressure to force the preservatives deep into the wood fibers.

The most commonly used preservatives in pressure treatment are copper, chromium, and arsenic (CCA).

Is Using Pressure Treated Wood Safe for a Sandbox?

The short answer is no. While pressure-treated wood is long-lasting and that makes it the perfect option for outdoor projects, it could be harmful from another aspect.

When the wood used in a sandbox is treated with pressure, it can leach chemicals into the sand, making it unsafe for children to play in.

The safety of treated wood for children and pets depends on the type of chemicals used in the pressure-treating process and the level of exposure.

These chemicals can be toxic to humans and pets if they come into direct contact with the skin. Arsenic, in particular, is a toxic heavy metal that has been linked to various health problems, including cancer, heart disease, and developmental problems.

Safety Precautions

To minimize the risk of exposure to the chemicals in pressure-treated wood, it’s important to take safety precautions when handling and working with this material. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:

  1. Wear protective clothing: When handling pressure-treated wood, wear long sleeves, pants, gloves, and a dust mask to prevent exposure to sawdust and debris.
  2. Work in a well-ventilated area: When cutting or sanding pressure-treated wood, work outdoors or in an open area to minimize exposure to chemicals.
  3. Clean up: After working with pressure-treated wood, clean up any sawdust and debris and dispose of it properly. Do not burn pressure-treated wood, as this can release harmful chemicals into the air around you and potentially cause you harm.
  4. Avoid direct contact with the skin: If you come into direct contact with pressure-treated wood, wash your skin thoroughly with soap and water to get rid of any possible chemicals that made their way to your skin.
  5. Follow safety guidelines: Be sure to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer when working with pressure-treated wood.

Alternative to Pressure Treated Wood

Now that you know all about pressure-treated wood and the harmful chemicals included, you don’t want to risk your children’s health during playtime. Discover the safer options for your outdoor building with these alternatives to pressure-treated wood.

Cedar Wood

Cedar is a type of wood that comes from various species of evergreen trees in the Cedar family. It’s a soft wood that is known for its unique aroma and its resistance to rot, insects, and decay.

It has a light color and a distinctive grain pattern. It’s also less likely to cause splinters, making it a safe option for children.


Redwood comes from the coast redwood (Sequoia Sempervirens) tree, which is native to the western coast of North America. It’s also a type of softwood that’s known for its natural resistance to rot, as well as its distinctive reddish-brown color and tight grain pattern.

Treated Pine Wood

Treated pine is a popular choice for outdoor construction projects, such as sandboxes.

Although we just discussed that chemically treated wood is not a great option for a sandbox, pine-treated wood, on the other hand, could be your way to go.

This type of wood has the green light for usage because one of the essential steps in making treated pine is using water-resistant sealant to help protect it from moisture and weather.

Water-resistant sealant is a chemical, yes, but not as harmful as the previously mentioned chemicals.

Final Thoughts

Pressure-treated wood is not your go-to if you want a safe environment for your kids or pets. We would recommend you use one of the alternatives we previously provided in this article.

The best option you can go for is pine-treated wood, this one is most suitable for outdoor projects because of its sturdiness and the cheap price.


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