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Daily News Archive
From July 6, 2001

Mandatory Labeling of CCA-treated Wood Remains Necessary After New EPA Agreement with Wood Treatment Industry

The issues addressed by the Arsenic-Treated Wood Mandatory Labeling Act (S. 877) remaining vitally important after the latest round of negotiation between the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the American Wood Preservers Institute (AWPI) to produce a new Consumer Awareness Program (CAP) for pressure-treated wood. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) introduced S. 877 on May 14, 2001, currently cosponsored by Senators Dodd (D-CT), Kennedy (D-MA) and Boxer (D-CA), that requires all wood treated with chromated copper arsenate (CCA) be affixed with a warning label (click here for information about S.877).

The new voluntary agreement between EPA and AWPI fails to list the health effects linked to exposure to arsenic that include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, decreased red and white blood cell counts, abnormal heart rhythm as well as cancer of the skin, lung, bladder, liver and kidney. S. 877 requires that information be included on the warning label. An even larger problem with the EPA/AWPI agreement is that it remains voluntary and therefore does not provide EPA with any authority to enforce the CAP. Click here for: 1) information about AWPI's new CAP proposal, 2) EPA's suggestions to AWPI for improving the proposed CAP, 3) EPA's press release announcing the agreement with AWPI.

EPA has once again announced a delay in its continued effort to work through the reevaluation process on the heavy-duty wood preservatives including CCA, pentachlorophenol and creosote. In May, 2001 the agency bowed to political pressure, deciding to pull out one piece of the larger preliminary risk assessment on CCA. Specifically, EPA stated that it would work to publish the children's risk assessment from exposure to CCA-treated wood in July for public comment. The latest statement from EPA is that the children's risk assessment will not be available until mid-September. Beyond Pesticides encourages all interested parties to comment on EPA's preliminary risk assessment of children exposed to CCA when it becomes available, and to contact their Congress people urging their support for S. 877.