Dolphin Bay is making a spray-on fixation indicator available to its customers. This gives results, within seconds, to determine whether their CCA is properly fixated to the treated timber.
The indicator is very simple to use. Spray it onto the timber and within 10 seconds, CCA that has not had time to fixate will turn a deep violet. When the CCA is correctly fixated, the timber will turn an orange hue, similar to that of wood.
“In a busy treatment plant, it’s easy to forget when you’ve treated each bundle of wood,” said Dolphin Bay’s Mark Duckham. “Our spray gives customers confidence that their treated timber is fixated, ready for loading and dispatch, and that there will be no leaching.”
Bruce Breedt, Executive Director of the South African Wood Preservers Association (SAWPA), said the South African national standards require that CCA must be properly fixated before treated timber is dispatched from the plant.
“The South African national standards require that CCA must be properly fixated before your treated timber is dispatched,” said SAWPA’s Bruce Breedt.
“This was specifically changed from being a recommendation to a requirement because of the risk of exposure to unfixed CCA, especially to those who may be in frequent contact with freshly treated timber.
“Once CCA is fixed, the risk is mitigated and basically removed, as there is no exposure hazard.”
Fixation is determined by spraying a specific reagent on CCA-treated timber, Bruce explained. If hexavalent chromium (unfixed) is still present, a deep violet colour will appear for a short period. The absence of this colour indicates the presence of trivalent chromium, i.e., the CCA is fixed.
“Simply spray the product onto timber and within ten seconds, you will know if your product is ready for loading and dispatch.”
CCA is more effective and durable than any other wood preservative on the market when used correctly, and remains the world’s most popular timber preservative. Our fixation indicator is increasingly relevant, as the South African government is implementing the United Nations’ GHS regulations, which classify CCA as among the chemical products that could be phased out on the grounds of their alleged toxicity.
However, last year, scientists at Infotox proved that timber properly treated with Permacure CCA is non-toxic, as it falls well within the safety limits prescribed by the GHS. Infotox found that CCA remains bound within the CCA-treated timber, in essence becoming a different product after fixation, and cannot be evaluated according to its individual constituents.
“It’s important not to confuse wet timber with unfixed CCA-treated timber,” added Bruce. “Treated timber can still feel and look wet, but fixation of the chemical components to the wood fibres may already have occurred and the wood would be perfectly safe to handle.
“The process of fixation is time- and temperature-dependant, and SANS 10005 gives guidance on the time versus ambient temperature needed for fixation to occur.”
“Our fixation indicator gives customers peace of mind that they are being a responsible treater and contributor to the market, in knowing that their timber is ready to be dispatched,” said Bertus.
“It is one more way of showing government that we are a reliable industry, capable of self-governing, and that additional oversight isn’t necessary. This is crucial, as we find ourselves in the position of defending our industry and its preservatives against reclassification.”