Question: We have a nice log outbuilding, of a good size for a small cabin. It was built about 30 years ago, and the logs were creosoted way back then, as it was a storage facility. I would love to convert it to something more useful, if possible, as I am not a builder and don't have resources to start a new one. Do you think that this could be interior plastic-sealed, insulated, with drywall on the interior for farm help habitation? It was made so long back that there is no creosote odor emanating from it at all - even in the sticky heat of summer.
Answer: I would be very hesitant about having someone live in a building that has been creosoted, even if it was decades ago.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the EPA has determined that creosote is most likely a carcinogenic to humans.
Diagnosticians have determined that breathing the vapors of any of the creosotes has caused irritation of the respiratory tract.
It is almost impossible to seal any structure to the point were vapors are not present, just opening a window or door to the outside could cause the vapors to enter the inside.
The fact that you are aware of the potential health hazard makes you liable should someone become ill after being in the building.
Additional information on creosoted lumber.
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