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Facts About...

CHROMATED COPPER ARSENATE (CCA) - TREATED WOOD


What is it and where is it used?

Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA)-treated wood is often referred to as pressure treated wood. Wood that has been injected with CCA is more resistant to decay and insect damage. Pressure-treated wood is commonly used in the building of decks, fences, picnic tables, play structures and other outdoor landscape construction.

What is the risk to you and your family?

Over time, small amounts of chromium, copper and arsenic can leach out of CCA–treated wood. As a result, these chemicals can be released into the ground near the wood. With basic precautions, exposure to these chemicals can be minimized and the risk of illness reduced.

What is being done?

Since arsenic is a known carcinogen, reduction in levels of exposure is desirable. As a result Canadian and United States manufacturers of pressure-treated wood have voluntarily agreed to stop production of chromated copper arsenate as a preservative in wood for consumers by December 31, 2003. The federal government is reviewing other types of wood treatment products. Alternatives to pressure-treated wood include cedar and redwood as well as metal and plastic.

What steps can you take to reduce you and your family’s exposure to CCA?

  • Wash hands after contact with CCA-treated wood and before eating or drinking. This is important for children who play on or around CCA-treated wood structures because of their frequent hand-to-mouth contact.
  • Food should not be in direct contact with treated-wood (i.e., picnic tables).
  • Studies have indicated that applying penetrating coatings (e.g., oil based, semi-transparent stains) every year or two may help reduce the leaching of preservative chemicals from CAA-treated wood.
  • Never burn CAA-treated wood as it releases harmful chemicals.

More information can be obtained from

April 22, 2013


For more information call
DURHAM REGION HEALTH DEPARTMENT
905-668-7711 OR 1-800-841-2729