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Creosote and its Use as a Wood Preservative

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Chemical Review Manager: Jacqueline Cambpell-McFarlane (campbell-mcfarlane.jacqueline@epa.gov), 703-308-6416 if there are any accesibility issues please call the chemical review manager.

Current as of November 2008

EPA has completed its reregistration eligibility decisions (RED) for the heavy duty wood preservatives chromated arsenicals, pentachlorophenol, and creosote.  In general, EPA has determined that the compounds contribute benefits to society and are eligible for reregistration provided the mitigation measures and associated label changes identified in the REDs are implemented and required data are submitted.  In its risk assessments, the Agency identified risks of concern associated with occupational exposure (i.e., treatment plant workers) to all three preservatives and ecological exposure to pentachlorophenol and creosote.

Creosote is a wood preservative used for commercial purposes only; it has no registered residential uses. Creosote is obtained from high temperature distillation of coal tar (itself a mixture of hundreds of organic substances), and over 100 components in creosote have been identified. It is used as a fungicide, insecticide, miticide, and sporicide to protect wood and is applied by pressure methods to wood products, primarily utility poles and railroad ties.

EPA reassessed creosote as part of its reregistration program for older pesticides. The Reregistration Eligibility Decision (RED) for creosote was signed on September 25, 2008. Federal law directs EPA to periodically reevaluate older pesticides to ensure that they continue to meet current safety standards.

Timeline for Reregistration/Risk Assessment

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Creosote Regulatory Status:

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