About the Creosote Council

Welcome to the Creosote Council

The Creosote Council is a non-profit product stewardship and joint data development group composed of the five U.S. registrants of coal tar creosote — a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-registered wood preservative applied to industrial wood products at pressure-treatment plants.

Creosote-treated wood products have been making a valuable contribution to the nation’s transportation, communications, energy, and maritime infrastructures for more than a century. Today’s railway ties, utility poles, and marine pilings continue to be protected with creosote from insect infestation and microbial decay. In terms of performance and cost, creosote-treated wood products deliver benefits that cannot be matched by substitutes.

When used properly, creosote-treated industrial wood products perform vital functions without posing any scientifically demonstrable scientific risk of chronic health problems or damage to the environment. Creosote-treated products bring value to today’s society. They even deliver a bonus. Over the decades, a lot of trees have been spared; creosote treated products will last for upwards of four decades before needing replacement!

Today’s strong health and environmental safety record of creosote-treated wood is a result of modern production and treatment technologies, strict adherence to Federal requirements, and commitment by the makers and users of creosote to the latest and best practices available – all backed up by good science and many decades of experience.

Please explore this website to learn about the history of wood preserving with creosote, how creosote is regulated, and scientific research that has been provided by the Council to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to support its continued registration as a pressure-treatment wood preservative. In addition, numerous research projects have been completed to enhance the performance of creosote as a wood preservative:

Learn more about creosote’s continuous federal registration as a wood preservative.

Learn more about creosote’s critical infrastructure role.

Learn more about the cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness of creosote-treated wood.

Creosote Utility Pole Usage

As an integral part of the telecommunications infrastructure in the United States, it should be noted that utility poles are subject to the harshest conditions in nature, including rain, snow, ice, wind, decay, and insects.

Treating utility poles with creosote allows wood poles and crossarms to stay in service for at least 70 years.

Approximately 130 million utility poles are currently in service across the United States. Well over the majority of these utility poles are made with treated wood, with an estimate of over 40% of these being creosote-treated.

Currently, the usage of creosote-treated utility poles across the entire market is 10% to 15%.