is CCA treated timber?
CCA treated timber contains forms of the
chemicals Copper, Chromium and Arsenic. These are chemical
preservatives used to protect non-durable wood from rotting
and attack by fungi, termites or other wood boring insects.
The treatment is applied under pressure in a controlled industrial
environment and has been widely used to produce durable and
economic outdoor building products for over 70 years.
All treated timber manufactured by reputable companies
and handled correctly is safe. CCA treated timber has been
used world-wide for more than 70 years without evidence of
harm to human or environmental health.
the Australian review into CCA, there have been reviews in
the USA, Canada, the EU and New Zealand and none have found
any evidence that CCA has adverse human health impacts when
Study compared arsenic levels on the hands of children playing
in playgrounds constructed with CCA-treated wood with those
found on the hands of children playing in other playgrounds
without treated timber. They found the maximum amount of arsenic
on children’s hands for all participants in the study was lower
than the average daily intake of arsenic from water and food.
all, 2005. Arsenic on the Hands of Children after Playing in
Environmental Health Perspectives
A US analysis
of cancer statistics from 1973 to 1999 concluded there has
not been an increase in arsenic-associated cancers during the
period of extensive use of CCA treated timber in the USA.
D C, 2004. Health Effects of Preserved Wood: Relationship Between
CCA-Treated Wood and Incidence of Cancer in the United States.
Proceedings: Environmental Impacts of Preservative-Treated
Wood, February 2004.
Wood dust from any timber, treated or untreated,
can cause discomfort to skin, eyes and upper respiratory tracts.
To protect yourself simply wear gloves, dust mask and goggles
when building with timber.
review of CCA treated timber - 2005
After a 2 year study the
Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA)
stated in their report they found “… no compelling evidence
from the available data to conclude that there was likely to
be an unacceptable risk to public health from exposure to arsenic
from CCA-treated timber.”
in its report that the level of arsenic in treated timber is
lower than many sources found in water and food. Arsenic also
occurs naturally in all soils.
of Copper Chrome Arsenate Treated Timber 2005
were made as a result of the review?
As a precaution, timber
used in “frequent contact areas” such as playgrounds, garden
furniture, picnic tables, benches, handrails, and decking boards
is no longer treated with CCA, for these applications alternative
chemicals are used.
timber is still suitable for all other applications such as
the decking sub-structure, pergolas, fencing and landscaping.
playgrounds built with CCA treated timber be removed?
authorities in the USA, Canada, Europe, Australia or New Zealand
have recommended the dismantling of existing structures built
with CCA treated timber.
(CSIRO) study investigated soils in three kindergarten playgrounds.
All soil readings from the kindergartens were well below tolerable
limits. According to ENSIS: “the results suggest that there
is no need for the playground equipment at these kindergartens
to be modified or removed.
L J 205. Arsenic Content of Soil and Wood Chip Fines in Three
Report No. 151.
chemical leach into the soil?
Studies into treated timber used
in vegetable gardens have shown the preservative CCA is not
absorbed into food crops like grapes, tomatoes and cucumbers.
Some root crops like carrots and beets have been reported to
pick up small amounts of arsenic from CCA, but it is in an
organic non-toxic form and in any case is largely removed by
peeling the vegetables.
found that, in general, if some preservative is leached from
the timber, it is likely to remain in the soil close to CCA-treated
wood and that plants and vegetable are not likely to take up
significant amounts unless closely adjacent to treated timber.
information visit www.pine.com.au