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Requiring EPA to Report to Congress on the Health Risks of CCA-Treated Wood

Amendment No. SA 1228 to H.R. 2620

Purpose: To direct the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to Report to Congress on the safety of children’s playground equipment.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES – 107th Cong, 1st Sess.

Making appropriations for the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development, and for sundry independent agencies, boards, commissions, corporations, and offices for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2002, and for other purposes.

Referred to the Committee on ________________________ and ordered to be printed.

Ordered to lie on the table and be printed.

AMENDMENT intended to be proposed by MR. NELSON of Florida.

Viz:

At the appropriate place, insert the following:

SEC. _____. ARSENIC IN PLAYGROUND EQUIPMENT.

(a) FINDINGS. – The Congress makes the following findings:

(1) The Department of Health and Human Services has determined that arsenic is a known carcinogen, and the Environmental Protection Agency has classified chromated copper arsenate (CCA), which 22 percent arsenic, as a “restricted use pesticide.”

(2) CCA is often used as a preservative in pressure-treated wood, and CCA-treated wood is widely used in constructing playground equipment frequented by children.

(3) In 2001, many communities in Florida and elsewhere have temporarily or permanently closed playgrounds in response to elevated levels of arsenic in soil surrounding CCA-treated wood playground equipment.

(4) The State of Florida recently announced that its own wood-treatment plant would cease using arsenic as a preservative.

(5) PlayNation Play Systems, which manufactures playground equipment, announced in June 2001 that it would not longer use CCA as a preservative in its playground products.

(6) In May 2001, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that it would expedite its review of the health risks facing children playing near CCA-treated wood playground equipment, and produce its findings in June 2001. The EPA later postponed the release of its risk assessment until the end of the summer of 2001, and announced that its risk assessment would be reviewed by a Scientific Advisory Panel in October 2001.

(7) The EPA also plans to expedite its risk assessment regarding the re-registering of arsenic as a pesticide by accelerating its release from 2003 to 2002.

(8) The Consumer Product Safety Commission, which has the authority to ban hazardous and dangerous products, announced in June 2001 that it would consider a petition seeking the banning of CCA-treated wood from all playground equipment.

(9) Many viable alternatives to CCA-treated wood exist, including cedar, plastic products, aluminum, and treated wood without CCA. These products, alone or in combination, can fully replace CCA-treated wood in playground equipment.

(b) SENSE OF THE SENATE. – It is the Sense of the Senate that the potential health and safety risks to children playing on and around CCA-treated wood playground equipment is a matter of the highest priority, which demands immediate attention from the Congress, the Executive Branch, state and local governments, affected industries and parents.

(c) REPORT. – Not later than 30 days after the date of enactment of the Act, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, in consultation with the Consumer Product Safety Commission, shall submit a report to Congress which shall include –

(1) the Environmental Protection Agency’s most up-to-date understanding of the potential health and safety risks to children playing on and around CCA-treated wood playground equipment;

(2) the Environmental Protection Agency’s current recommendations to state and local governments about the continued use of CCA-treated wood playground equipment; and

(3) an assessment of whether consumers considering purchasing of CCA-treated playground equipment are adequately informed concerning the health effects associated with arsenic.