Copper Chrome Arsenate (CCA) as a Timber Treatment
From: Robina Suwol
Date: 05 Aug 2003
Remote Name: 188.8.131.52
Date: 28 July 2003
The Board of the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA)
has today put industry on notice that it intends to stop the use of Copper
Chrome Arsenate (CCA) as a timber treatment in certain domestic situations
such as decking and children's playground equipment by the end of 2003 unless
there is conclusive proof that continued use is safe.
The Chairman of the APVMA Board, Dr Kevin Sheridan, said that while scientific
opinion on whether CCA poses a significant hazard was divided, the Board
considered that they should take a highly protective approach in this
instance. CCA is used to preserve wood in a variety of situations such as for
telegraph poles, decking and fencing. It has also been used for children's
playground equipment, although its use has declined in recent years in favor
of metal and plastic structures, a move the APVMA welcomes.
Trace amounts of arsenic are commonly found in the environment, in foods and
in drinking water. The World Health Organization has set a tolerable daily
intake for this natural element. There is concern however that certain uses of
CCA treated timber may add an additional level of exposure to arsenic.
The APVMA announcement comes in advance of the outcomes of their detailed
review of the scientific literature, which is currently underway The USA and
the EU are also undertaking scientific reviews on CCA. To date, the US
Environmental Protection agency has not concluded that there is unreasonable
risk to the public from these products but is of the view that any reduction
in exposure to arsenic is desirable. Nevertheless, in the USA these products
are being phased out by the end of 2003 at the request of industry.
A review by New Zealand authorities had concluded that there was insufficient
evidence at this stage to conclude that
these products pose an unacceptable risk. However, New Zealand did support a
move away from using CCA treated timber on children's playground equipment.
Suppliers of CCA products had called for its retention unless there was
conclusive scientific evidence that CCA poses
an unacceptable risk to the community. Dr Sheridan said the APVMA did not
support this approach. He said it was up
to the registrants to prove their products were safe. He encouraged suppliers
to submit any further data they may have.
Dr David Loschke, the APVMA's Principal Agricultural Scientist said the APVMA
Board would be provided with a comprehensive analysis on CCA late this year.
However, he confirmed that the APVMA takes a protective approach to chemical
safety and a number of other chemicals had been withdrawn in the past where
the risks were considered unacceptable.
For further information contact:
Dennis O'Leary, Public Relations Manager
02 6272 3797
Last changed: March 14, 2006