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Can Borate-Treated Lumber Get Wet?

Tim Uhler is making a mistake in saying that it's okay for borate-treated wood to get wet during normal construction (Q&A, 1/06).

Universal Forest Products, a distributor of Osmose's Advance Guard, has the following handling instructions on its Web site: "Borate-treated products must be continuously protected from liquid water, and they should never be used in contact with the ground." I think rain qualifies as liquid water, and houses are still built outdoors.

Arch Wood Products, which markets FrameGuard borate-treated wood, has the following instructions on its Web site: "If a partially built structure is left uncovered for an extended period of time, steps should be taken to shield the wood from precipitation." Is there any way to shield sill plates from the rain during construction?

Borate-treated wood has its place in the marketplace, but not as a direct substitute for ACQ- or CA-treated sill plates.

John Daingerfield

Jaeger Lumber

Union, N.J.

JLC editor Don Jackson responds: While it's important to take precautions against the leaching of borates (as Tim Uhler points out), the manufacturers of borate-treated lumber still recommend its use for conventional mudsills, which are not exposed to the weather in service. The two manufacturers you mention also specifically say that the lumber can be exposed to the weather during the normal construction process. The Osmose Web site (, for example, contains the following caution: "Advance Guard Borate Pressure Treated Wood is intended to be used for framing and applications where the wood is not in direct contact with the ground and is continuously protected from liquid water. Normal exposure to weather during ordinary installation will not adversely affect the performance of the product." Likewise, Arch Wood's site ( contains the following guidelines: "FrameGuard Borate-Treated Wood ... is an ideal building material where borate leaching is unlikely except during the initial period of construction. ... Although it is advisable to avoid exposure to water, it is often impractical to provide total protection during construction. Normal exposure to the elements does not affect the long-term performance of FrameGuard treated lumber."

Passing the Buck on Illegal Day Laborers

I totally agree with the East Hampton approach to day laborers (In the News, 2/06). I too live on Long Island and the Home Depot near me is swamped with illegals every day. They urinate on and break into cars in the parking lot, throw garbage all over, and attract prostitutes. My female customers won't go near the place anymore, which makes my job more difficult. Everyone passes the buck about who is responsible for getting them out of there, and the feds and Immigration claim they have more important things to do.

Your article seems to accept this invasion and obviously favors the hiring-hall approach. You expect my community to spend even more taxpayer dollars to give comfort and training to people who pay no taxes, get free health care, refuse to learn English, undercut jobs from Americans, get free education for their kids — the list goes on and on.

I'm sick of the whining by those who claim they can't compete without illegals. Most guys here do fine without them, and to those who need them, maybe it's time for another line of business. We all survived before they flooded this region and we'll be just fine if they disappear tomorrow. Unless this practice ends, you'll see identity theft go wild, loss of American jobs to foreigners, loss of job skills and quality, and an ugly decline in our economy.

Instead of wasting money helping illegals, we ought to provide job location and transportation to get Americans to where the work is. In many parts of this country, there's little or no work at all. There are plenty of Americans who can and would do the work here on Long Island; why don't we help them instead?

I have no doubt I'll be labeled a racist for my views, but I don't apologize for favoring American workers over any and all illegal aliens.

Matt Rose

Hempstead, N.Y.

Wants News, Not Views

Having received your magazine since you first published in newspaper form, I'm disappointed in your new direction. In your February issue, you again go with a feel-good story about the illegal alien invasion. Is In the News your editorial page? It's looking like it, except for the title.

The figures you quote from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Pew Hispanic Center, as always, are way low. We take in a million-plus legal immigrants a year to start with, and that's the way it should be. But then we have 3 million crossing illegally into our country yearly. The Bear Stearns report of January 2005, by Robert Justich and Betty Ng, CFA, says the number of illegals in the U.S. may be as high as 20 million. It puts the loss of tax income at $35 billion a year due to work done off the books, and the social expenses of health care, education, and law enforcement at $30 billion a year.

The hidden costs to the country and society go on and on. Daily I hear and read of contractors — who pay dearly for insurance, bonds, and business licenses — saying they're getting hammered by illegal aliens. Our government continues to look the other way while cheap slave labor is allowed to enter the country for the benefit of those who will break our laws.

If JLC continues to slant stories to show support for illegal immigration and nothing to support the "mom and pop" contractors, then I guess it will be on corporate coffee tables all around the country and not on mine.

Mike Larson

Larson Glass & Mirror

Chelan, Wash.

Of Lawyers and Engineers

Thanks to Jeffrey Price for his explanation of the legal concept of "betterment" (Letters, 2/06). He's probably right that I'd make a rotten attorney; I'll take that as a compliment. I'd gladly pay for a beam I "should have" showed on the plans rather than pay many times its cost in legal fees just to make the owner pay for it.

Thor Matteson, SE

Mariposa, Calif.