Is Reclaimed Wood Safe?

Good Questions

Q: I love the look of the Stria collection bedroom furniture by West Elm. The description states that the wood is reclaimed saal wood (also mango and acacia wood) taken from railway trestles in India. I am all for reusing and recycling but I can't help but wonder if the furniture is safe, especially to sleep on?

I have emailed the company but haven't heard back just yet. In the meantime, I thought I would ask around in hopes that others may have information to share.

Much of the wood used in railroads has been heavily treated with chemicals, such as creosote, which is known to seep into the ground and contaminate the soil or water in the immediate area — which would make the use of such wood in furniture a bad choice. However, I've also heard that some railway trestles aren't treated with any wood preservative at all. With the rise in popularity of reclaimed wood for home decor, how do you confirm that this wood is safe?

Sent by Allison

Editor: Leave your suggestions for Allison in the comments — thanks!

• Got a question? Send us yours with pic attachments here (those with pics get answered first).

34 Comments