Current as of March 2009
Frequently Asked Questions
For questions on wood preservatives other than chromated copper arsenate (CCA), please contact your supplier.
Homeowners may want to contact their local county extension office.
To read the CCA Consumer Safety Information Sheet, click here.
Wasn’t CCA banned?
No. EPA never banned or threatened to ban CCA. The pesticide registration for CCA was modified as a result of a voluntary agreement reached in February 2002 between the registrants and EPA, in order to transition to a new generation of preservatives for most non-industrial applications. That agreement permitted the use of CCA for all existing registered uses until December 31, 2003 and the continued sale and distribution of CCA-treated wood treated in accordance with the label. After January 1, 2004, following label amendment, CCA was permitted and continues to be sold to treat wood for many industrial, commercial and agricultural uses.
Where can CCA-treated wood be used?
CCA-treated wood is used in marine facilities (pilings and structures), utility poles and cross arms, pilings for terrestrial and freshwater uses, commercial and agricultural construction (primarily foundations), and highway structures (such as bridge components, guardrails, and posts). CCA has a well-proven history of providing consistent long life to preserved wood products, both through over 50 years of laboratory and field testing as well as successful long-term use of products in challenging environments. Compared to non-wood products, benefits of wood products include lower density, ease of field modification, structural flexibility and durability, aesthetic appeal, and that wood is a renewable resource. CCA preservative adds benefits to wood including proven efficacy, long product life, and low cost. In addition, the treated product is clean, dry, non-slippery, and paintable, low in odor, and has a pleasing appearance.
Is chromated copper arsenate (CCA) pressure treated wood safe?
Yes. Seventy years of safe use and the body of sound scientific and medical evidence demonstrate that chromated copper arsenate (CCA) pressure treated wood is safe when used as recommended.
The US EPA currently is re-evaluating CCA as part of a mandated reregistration process applicable to all pesticide products. EPA has not identified any unreasonable risks associated with the treatment or use of CCA-treated wood.
With respect to existing structures in residential settings, EPA recently completed an assessment of potential risks to children who may play on CCA-treated playsets and decks. EPA concluded that there are no unacceptable risks to the public for existing CCA-treated wood being used around homes . EPA does not believe there is any reason to remove or replace CCA-treated structures, including decks or playground equipment. EPA is not recommending that existing structures or surrounding soils be removed or replaced. Further, EPA has not recommended that there is any need to take steps such as applying coatings to minimize exposure.