Daily News Archive
From May 16, 2002

Florida Town Tests for Dangers in Its Wood

Pressure-treated wood in Davie, Florida was recently tested for toxicity to human health at the request of Fort Lauderdale law firm

Becker & Poliakoff, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel. The firm is trying to develop a class action lawsuit against manufacturers and dealers of pressure-treated wood. They maintain that several sites in Davie are toxic due to the wood, and actually exceed the "residential cleanup target levels" set by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

CCA-treated wood contains the known human carcinogen arsenic, along with copper and chromium. Without regular treatment, these toxic chemicals can leach into the surrounding environment, expanding the potential for human exposure. Despite these risks, some officials remain ambivalent. They say it is unclear whether the wood is a real threat to human health. Bill Hinkley, chief of the state's Bureau of Solid and Hazardous Waste, said the threat of arsenic "requires long-term exposure. It's not clear to me that these numbers are applicable or appropriate from the sites they were taken." The numbers the firm cited for clean up levels were "meant to be protective of people who spent time in a residential neighborhood for 20 or 30 years' time, who have lived there continuously." The Mayor of Davie, Harry Venis, says he is unsure at this point whether Davie will join Becker & Poliakoff in their lawsuit.

For more information regarding CCA-treated wood, please contact Beyond Pesticides.