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Pentachlorophenol and its Use as a Wood Preservative


Current as of April 2008

EPA is reassessing pentachlorophenol (PCP) as part of its reregistration program for older pesticides. Federal law directs EPA to periodically re-evaluate older pesticides to ensure that they continue to meet current safety standards. The Reregistration Eligibility Decision (RED) for pentachlorophenol is scheduled for September 30, 2008. We have updated this fact sheet to reflect recent changes to the status of the registration for pentachlorophenol.

Pentachlorophenol was one of the most widely used biocides in the U.S. before regulatory actions to cancel and restrict certain non wood-preservative uses of pentachlorophenol in 1987. Pentachlorophenol is a standardized oil-borne preservative listed in the AWPA Book of Standards under P8, Section 1. It now has no registered residential uses.

The production of pentachlorophenol for wood preserving began on an experimental basis in the 1930s. In 1947 nearly 3,200 metric tons of pentachlorophenol was reported to have been used in the U.S. by the commercial wood preserving industry. Before the 1987 Federal Register Notice that canceled and restricted certain non-wood uses, pentachlorophenol was registered for use as a herbicide, defoliant, mossicide, and as a disinfectant. As of 2002, approximately 11 million pounds of pentachlorophenol were produced.

Timeline for Reregistration/Risk Assessment

Questions & Answers

Pentachlorophenol Regulatory Status:

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