New York State
Legislature Passes CCA Ban
A bill to prohibit the use of chromated copper arsenate (CCA) treated lumber for any new public or school playground passed the New York State Assembly and Senate on Monday, June 17. The arsenic in CCA is a known human carcinogen and has been linked to nervous system damage and birth defects. The bill, A10221 and S7167, also requires existing CCA treated structures to be maintained to minimize leaching of the CCA and directs the commissioner of environmental conservation to publish information on the dangers of CCA-treated lumber and methods and materials to be used to minimize the structures leaching CCA. The bill will take effect within six months of its enactment.
CCA-treated wood products are used in decks and patios, picnic tables, playground equipment, walkways and boardwalks, landscaping timbers and fencing. The New York State bill's legislative memo states that "Educating the public about avoiding the use of CCA-treated wood should serve to reduce exposure from other uses, since alternatives are available."
Earlier this year, EPA announced a voluntary phase-out of CCA by the pressure-treated industry. After December 31, 2003, wood for residential uses may no longer be treated with CCA. However, this wood can continue to be sold off until supplies are exhausted. While the EPA phase-out is a positive first step, environmentalists argue that it does not adequately protect public health or the environment. All existing structures, including decks, picnic tables and playground equipment will remain untouched by the phase-out.
Both the New York State bill and the EPA agreement ignore the disposal issue and industrial uses, like utility poles, pilings and support lumber in buildings.