Cinnaminson, NJ, December 17th, 2015
Chromated copper arsenate (CCA) is a pesticide containing chromium, copper and arsenic that protects wood from 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 making products for most residential uses in the United States.
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 surface of treated wood. Any cracking of the wood as it ages may also speed up this leaching process. The CCA residue can then be wiped or dislodged from the wood surface and may stick to hands or clothing from contact. Even the soil beneath and adjacent to CCA-treated wood structures can become contaminated.
“Wood treated with CCA was widely used in the past for outdoor structures such as decks, playground equipment, picnic tables, garden-bed borders and docks,” said Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President of Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “One of the major concerns associated with CCA-treated wood is centered on arsenic exposure issues, an element that can increase the risk of developing certain types of cancers. Young children playing on older playground equipment or decks built with CCA-treated wood could be at increased risk of exposure.”
The U.S. 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 possibly inhaling 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.
For those concerned about the possible presence of CCA-treated wood, EMSL offers testing for the presence of arsenic, copper and chromium. They also recently sponsored an online video about exposure concerns to CCA-treated wood that can be seen at: https://youtu.be/B0DXDqt00hA.
To learn more about this or other environmental, health and safety testing services, please visit www.EMSL.com, call (800) 220-3675 or email info@EMSL.com.
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of environmental, indoor air quality, consumer product and materials testing services and products for professionals and the general public. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.