Issue Date: January 15, 2007
EPA Rejects Wood Preservative
EPA has denied an industry petition to allow the use of a chromium-based wood preservative in lumber sold for decks and playground equipment. The agency rejected a request by Forest Products Research Laboratory to treat lumber for residential use with acid copper chromate (ACC), which contains high concentrations of hexavalent chromium, a known human carcinogen. EPA's scientific review concluded that "the risks associated with residential uses of ACC outweigh the minimal benefits," the agency said in a statement explaining its decision. According to EPA, the proposed residential uses of ACC would pose a cancer risk to treatment and manufacturing workers, as well as noncancer risks to homeowners, children, and contractors. In addition, disposal of the treated wood could require that it be handled and disposed of as a hazardous waste. At least eight chemical wood preservatives are registered for use in the residential lumber market, with alkaline copper quaternary being the most widely used. ACC-treated lumber is still approved for industrial applications.
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