levels in soil of Miami area playgrounds found to be high enough to warrant
closure of parks.
Beyond Pesticides has written to Governor Jeb Bush of Florida, urging him to take additional steps to protect the health of the people and the environment of Florida against exposure to wood preserving pesticides. Click here to read the press release. Beyond Pesticides then wrote to the remaining 49 Governors asking them to take the same steps to protect the health of the people of their states. In addition, we wrote to the Administrator of EPA, Christine Whitman, urging her to immediately begin to cancel the registrations of the wood preserving pesticides. Click here to read the press release.
The Associated Press reported March 22, 2001 on research conducted in the Miami area that found that arsenic had leached out of pressure-treated wood and into the soil of playgrounds leading to the closure of three parks. In addition, the findings of a study conducted by University of Miami and the University of Florida found an average of 28 parts per million of arsenic in soil sampled from sites across the state, far above the level of 0.8 parts per million the state's Department of Environmental Protection considers safe.
Meanwhile, St. Petersburg
Times reporter Julie Hauserman, and Gainesville Sun Reporter Ron Matus
have run a series of special reports addressing the risks associated with
arsenic leaching out of treated wood. Click on the following for
copies of the articles:
Also in Florida, the Miami Herald reported on March 16, 2001 that a class-action lawsuit has been filed in U.S. District Court on behalf of a Miami homeowner who built a deck with CCA-treated wood. The lawsuit names as defendants Osmose, Inc., Hickson Corp., Home Depot and Lowe's Home Centers as manufactuers and distributors of a defective and unsafe product and that they concealed from consumers the potential dangers of harmful effects of treated wood.
This news comes on the heels of EPA's announcement that the agency will abandon the new arsenic levels for drinking water that had been approved by the Clinton administration. A 1999 study by the National Academy of Sciences concluded that the current arsenic standard of 50 parts per billion "could easily" result in a 1-in-100 risk of cancer. The report went on to recommend that the acceptable levels be revised downward "as promptly as possible."
The American Wood
Preservers Institute (AWPI), the trade association of the treated-wood
products industry, welcomed the news that the Bush administration was
shooting down the tougher arsenic standard. AWPI had supported the mining
industry's lawsuit against the government's plan to decrease the amount
of arsenic in drinking water. The New York Times reported that AWPI spokesperson
Mel Pine said "We're very relieved and delighted about what we hear,"
after he received news that the government would not require a decrease
in the level of arsenic in drinking water. That decrease in arsenic would
protect children from dangerous exposure to the poison.
There currently exists a variety of alternative technologies for all uses of treated wood. These alternatives include recycled steel, plastics and concrete. A number of newer chemicals including ammonical copper quaternary (ACQ) are being considered as alternative treatments. We currently do not know enough about the alternative chemicals. We are concerned that manufacturers of treated wood and lumber yards will shift to these alternative chemicals claiming that the chemicals are perfectly safe before all the facts are in.
We need to strike
while the iron is hot. Please contact your elected officials and the new
Administrator of EPA. Educate them about the hazards associated with
the continued use of CCA, penta and creosote.