Florida Research Panel Touts Safety of CCA-Treated Wood

Florida — The Florida Physicians Arsenic Workgroup, a panel of six physicians appointed last year by the Florida Department of Health, has found that the amount of arsenic in playground equipment made with chromated copper arsenate (CCA)-treated wood is not significant compared with natural sources, and therefore does not pose a cancer risk to children or adults.

The panel also agreed with the Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) assessment that playground structures made with CCA-treated wood need not be removed. The report is available at www.preservedwood.com.

However, the study did not address disposal concerns, such as the dumping of CCA-treated wood in unlined landfills. According to many, arsenic may leach into the soil and can contaminate surrounding water sources. The EPA recently was urged by Beyond Pesticides, an environmental and public health group, to lift CCA-treated wood's exemption status and require that it be sent to hazardous waste landfills.

In February, the EPA signed an agreement with CCA-treated wood manufacturers to phase out certain uses of the wood by the end of 2002.