Treated Wood Review Process by Health Authorities
CCA treated wood has been used for over 70 years. During that time, it has proven to be an effective wood treatment against natural wood degradation agents. Its use helps to conserve our forest resource, by ensuring that wood lasts longer in situations where insect and decay hazards are high. EPA, the Environmental Protection Agency, approves this wood preservative. EPA is the regulatory body in the US that verifies and allows the use of CCA and other chemical products. From 1978 to 1986, EPA did a review of wood preservatives as part of its registration process, and the agency concluded that the benefits of using preserved wood far outweighed the risks. It is now conducting a regular re-registration.
Health Canada was collaborating with EPA and was conducting its own review of CCA wood preservative product. It was expected to make a ruling on its use and by February or March of 2002, or soon after the ruling by EPA.
The issue relating to the use of CCA treated wood in play structures is not new. In 1990, the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), an independent US agency, performed a study of CCA treated wood in playground structures and found that levels of exposure to arsenic was not a health risk. The CPSC is studying the issue again, and the industry is working closely with the CPSC on its current review. Numerous independent studies by reputable institutes and universities report no risk to human health. The risk from using CCA treated wood falls within the EPA's acceptable risk limits. Further research indicates acceptable levels of arsenic in decks, playground equipment and soil under CCA-treated structures to fall well within the zone of safety.
Nevertheless, to ensure proper handling of CCA treated wood during construction, the industry has instated an information campaign, which includes advertising, news releases, media tour, and spokespersons. The websites www.citw.org, www.preservedwood.com, www.durable-wood.com are among many websites that are now hosting a variety of information on CCA treated wood, including articles from renowned scientists that demystify the use of preserved wood.
CCA Treated Lumber Information Program
The preserved wood industry is committed to responsible actions and works closely with EPA and CPSC as well as Health Canada to address safety concerns of consumers and regulatory agencies. Both the EPA and CPSC oversee studies on CCA treated wood and its certification. Also, they have developed a voluntary program with the industry to inform consumers about the safe use of CCA-preserved wood. The purpose of the program is to ensure that consumers will safely handle CCA treated wood during the construction of durable wood structures.
The information program includes:
New labels on the wood containing information on the proper handling of CCA treated wood. These are essentially comprehensive end-tags on each piece of lumber, which describes the safe use of the product.
Point-of-purchase signs and stickers. These are more detailed fact sheets that are posted where CCA treated wood is sold.
Plans to encourage retailer participation
A new website (www.ccasafetyinfo.com) and a toll-free hotline (800-282-0600) providing consumer information; and
The commitment to further improve the design of the safe-handling information sheets.
Examples of the safety labels and tags are shown in the following pages. Experience has shown that the safe handling of CCA treated wood is the key to total satisfaction of the product. The websites www.citw.org, www.preservedwood.com, www.durable-wood.com are among the many websites that contain a variety of information on CCA treated wood, including articles from renowned scientists that demystify the safety issues and use of preserved wood. The wide accessibility of CCA treated wood information is testimony of the industry's commitment to increase availability and visibility of information on the safe handling of CCA treated wood.