Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA):
Consumer Advice Related to CCA-Treated Wood
CCA Table of Contents
Current as of April 30, 2008
The final probabilistic risk assessment on chromated copper arsenate (CCA) that evaluates potential exposure and risk to children from CCA-treated wood is complete. This report, entitled “A Probabilistic Risk Assessment for Children Who Contact CCA-Treated Playsets and Decks1,” is available at regulations.gov in docket number EPA-HQ-OPP-2003-0250.
The following information is intended to address consumer concerns about CCA-treated wood.
Advice for consumers who have existing CCA structures
- EPA does not believe there is any reason to remove or replace CCA-treated structures, including decks and playground equipment.
- EPA is not recommending surrounding soils be removed or replaced.
- While available data are very limited, some studies suggest that applying certain penetrating coatings (e.g., oil-based, semi-transparent stains) on a regular basis (e.g., once per year or every other year depending upon wear and weathering) may reduce the migration of wood preservative chemicals from CCA-treated wood. In selecting a finish, consumers should be aware that, in some cases, "film-forming" or nonpenetrating stains (e.g., latex semitransparent, latex opaque, and oil-based opaque stains) on outdoor surfaces such as decks and fences are not recommended, as subsequent peeling and flaking may ultimately have an impact on durability as well as exposure to the preservatives in the wood. Talk with your local hardware store about available coatings.
- As always, parents should manage risks to their children. Always wash hands thoroughly after contact with treated wood, especially before eating and drinking, and ensure that food does not come into direct contact with any treated wood.
- Consumers should follow the recommendations in the updated Consumer Awareness Program, including the same precautions that workers should take: wear gloves when handling wood, wear goggles and dust-mask when sawing and sanding, always wash hands before eating, and never burn CCA-treated wood.
Determining if a deck or playset has been constructed with CCA-treated wood
- CCA was the principal chemical used to treat wood for decks and other outdoor uses around the home until December 31, 2003.
- Generally, if your deck or playset was built before December 31, 2003, and was not constructed with redwood or cedar, then most likely the deck or playset was constructed with CCA-treated wood.
- Alternatively, if you know who constructed the deck or playset, you may want to call and ask. Playsets have been constructed from a variety of materials, including CCA-treated wood, but CCA-treated playsets represent a smaller percentage than CCA-treated decks.
Advice for consumers who believe they have suffered an adverse reaction from CCA-treated wood
- If you feel you are suffering possible adverse effects from working with CCA-treated wood, you should immediately contact your medical provider.
- For further information, and to report incidents to EPA, please contact the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) at 1-800-858-7378.
Disposal of CCA-treated wood
- CCA-treated wood can be disposed of with regular municipal trash (i.e., municipal solid waste, not yard waste).
- Never burn CCA-treated wood or use it as compost or mulch.
- State or local laws may be stricter than federal requirements. Residential consumers should contact appropriate state and local agencies for further guidance on the disposal of CCA-treated wood. For more information, please contact the waste management agency for your state.
1Zartarian V.G., J. Xue, H. A. Ozkaynak, W. Dang, G. Glen, L. Smith, and C. Stallings., 2005, “A Probabilistic Exposure Assessment for Children Who Contact CCA-treated Playsets and Decks Using the Stochastic Human Exposure and Dose Simulation Model for the Wood Preservative Scenario (SHEDS-WOOD)” Final Report. U.S. EPA. Washington, DC, EPA/600/X-05/