No-use pact

Published: Friday 15 March 2002

soon there will be no arsenic-based preservatives in the wood used to build decks and playground equipment in the US. Recently, the lumber industry reached an agreement that would end the use of chromated copper arsenate (CCA), a pesticide used to protect lumber from decay and insect damage, by December 2003 in almost all the wood used for residential projects.

Green groups have asked the companies to stop selling lumber before the end of 2003. "This product should never have been put on the market in the first place," said Richard Wiles, an Environmental Working Group senior vice president, adding: "It represents the chemical industry at its absolute worst."

According to environmentalists arsenic stays on wooden surfaces and can rub off on the hands of people who touch it. "Those who have CCA wood in their yards should now do something to create a safe environment for their families," said Paul Bogart, campaign coordinator for Healthy Building Network, an environmental advocacy group. "Some may choose to remove the wood altogether. Others may choose to seal the wood," he remarked.

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