Washington, D.C. -- After discussions with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), wood preservative manufacturers Arch Wood Protection Inc., Smyrna, Ga., Chemical Specialties Inc., Charlotte, N.C., and Osmose Inc., Buffalo, N.Y., have agreed to phase-out wood treated with chromated copper arsenate (CCA) and sold for residential use by Dec. 31, 2003.
New labeling will be required on all CCA products until then, specifying that no use of CCA will be allowed by the wood preservative industry for residential use after 2003.
But the EPA has not concluded that CCA-treated wood poses a risk to the public for existing structures. This has angered some environmental groups such as the Healthy Building Network, which argues that the arsenic leaches from existing structures and that once the wood is disposed of in landfills, it poses an equally serious problem that the EPA must address.
The agency contends that it will proceed with a risk assessment of CCA-treated wood in current structures and will continue to evaluate public comments and input from an external scientific review panel to determine exposure levels, especially to children.
Stores such as The Home Depot, Atlanta, already have announced plans to stop selling CCA-treated wood in the next few years. The industry will continue to use the preservative for industrial structures such as utility poles and highway construction.