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Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA) Treated Wood in Homes & Playgrounds

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Published on Dec 3, 2015

Chromated copper arsenate, also referred to as CCA, is a pesticide containing chromium, copper, and arsenic that protects wood against termites, fungi and other pests. This inorganic pesticide has been widely used as a wood preservative pesticide since the 1940s. However, in December of 2003, CCA manufacturers discontinued manufacturing products for most residential uses in the United States.

Wood treated with CCA was widely used in outdoor structures such as decks, playground equipment, picnic tables, garden-bed borders and docks.




A primary reason for discontinuing its use was due to concerns of residues on newly treated wood and because the CCA can leach out of treated wood products over time. CCA leachate contains arsenic, chromium and copper and since it is water-soluble, rainwater can seep in and leach CCA onto the wood surface. Cracking of the wood as it ages may also speed up this leaching process. The CCA residue can be wiped or dislodged from the wood surface and can stick to hands or clothing from contact. Even the soil beneath and adjacent to CCA-treated wood structures can become contaminated.

One of the major exposure concerns associated with CCA-treated wood is centered on arsenic, an element that can increase the risk of certain types of cancers. Young children can be at risk of exposure to CCA when playing on older playground equipment or decks built with CCA-treated wood. They can be exposed to CCA by touching the leachate on the wood surface with their hands and then inadvertently ingesting it through hand-to-mouth activity. Because of this, children should not eat while on CCA-treated wood and thorough handwashing after touching these surfaces is recommended.

The US. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that CCA-treated wood should not be used in raised vegetable beds or reused in other products such as mulch. People should not burn CCA-treated wood to avoid possible inhalation of toxic chemicals in the smoke and ash. They are advised to wear goggles and a dust mask when sawing CCA-treated wood, and to wash their hands after handling. The EPA also recommends applying a penetrating protective coating on a regular basis for anyone with an older deck or other structure made with CCA-treated wood as this may reduce the leaching of chemicals.

These are just a few things to know CCA-treated wood and potential exposure concerns. To learn more about this or other environmental, health and safety, occupational, property damage or indoor air quality issues, please visit the websites shown below.

Clark Seif Clark http://www.csceng.com
EMSL Analytical, Inc. http://www.emsl.com
LA Testing http://www.latesting.com
Zimmetry Environmental http://www.zimmetry.com
Healthy Indoors Magazine http://www.iaq.net
Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters http://HudsonDouglasPublicAdjusters.com

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