pressure treated wood gets warning labels 
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 pressure treated wood gets warning labels

The Associated Press
7/3/01 5:33 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Consumer warning labels will start appearing this
fall on nearly all the treated lumber in the United States, warning
about an arsenic-laced preservative being used to protect the wood
from decay and insect damage.

The labels are part of an Environmental Protection Agency program
announced Tuesday that is designed to let people know about the
presence of chromated copper arsenate (CCA), a powerful pesticide
used in the lumber. By early fall, EPA-required labeling is to be
included on all pieces of CCA-treated lumber.

In addition, there will be stickers and signs for all in-store
displays and a new toll-free hotline and Web site.

"Now consumers will understand that this treated wood contains
arsenic," said Stephen Johnson, the EPA's director of the Office of
Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances.

Also Tuesday, the Consumer Product Safety Commission took a first
step toward possibly banning CCA-treated wood from playground
equipment. It also is commonly used in the making of decks, railings,
picnic tables, fences, posts and docks.

The commission voted 3-0 to ask for public comment on two groups'
petition to ban the product. After additional research, the
commission could decide whether to start the process to ban
CCA-treated wood from playgrounds, commission spokesman Scott Wolfson

Arsenic, a substance that is both manufactured and naturally
occurring, has been discussed recently in wrangling over how much to
limit it in drinking water. The EPA is proposing to set a new limit
after the Bush administration rescinded former President Clinton's

In the case of CCA-treated wood, EPA decided that consumers were not
being adequately informed and in May asked for opinions from the
public and the wood preservative industry on ways to increase
consumer awareness.

In late October, the agency also plans to hold a public meeting of
one of its science advisory panels to better calculate children's
potential exposure in playgrounds.

Next year, the EPA expects to release a comprehensive review of
CCA-treated wood that could lead to more regulatory changes. That
review will include an evaluation of how well the new consumer
information programs are working.

Critics say millions of American consumers might think CCA-treated
wood is safe just because it remains on store shelves.

"In some respects, labeling is a way to avoid the real regulatory
action that needs to be taken here, which is to ban arsenic in
lumber," said Richard Wiles of the Environmental Working Group. "It
looks like this EPA is more interested in defending arsenic than the
public from arsenic."

The commission vote came after a May petition from Wiles' group and
the Healthy Building Network asking for a ban on CCA-treated wood
being used in playground equipment and for a study on whether it is
safe for other consumer uses.

Mel Pine, a spokesman for the American Wood Preservers Institute,
said his group considers CCA-treated wood to be "safe to use as
directed, as with so many things."

In 1986, the EPA banned most inorganic arsenic pesticides but allowed
the use of CCA to continue in pressure-treated wood as a "restricted
use" pesticide. Manufacturers agreed to voluntarily distribute
consumer "fact sheets" about its use.

Switzerland, Vietnam and Indonesia have banned CCA-treated wood.
Japan, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Australia and New Zealand have
either limited its use or proposed restrictions.


On the Net:


Environmental Working Group: http://www.***.com/

Healthy Building Network: http://www.***.com/

American Wood Preservers Institute: http://www.***.com/
Copyright 2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material
may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Tue, 23 Dec 2003 10:17:13 GMT
 [ 1 post ] 

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