What you need to know about
The most common “pressure-treated”
lumber contains Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA), a chemical mixture of
three pesticide compounds: chromium, copper, and arsenic.
The lumber industry voluntarily
stopped manufacturing CCA-treated wood by December 31, 2003.
All three of the chemicals in
CCA are hazardous to human health and the environment because they do not
break down into harmless substances, but remain toxic.
CCA is listed in most states
as a carcinogen, which means it causes cancer.
Some studies have shown excessive
amounts of arsenic in the soil around structures made from CCA-treated
CCA-treated wood should not
be used for cutting boards, counter tops, bee hives, playgrounds, landscaping,
near human or animal food, near open water or drinking water sources.
Do not burn CCA-treated wood.
Burning CCA-treated wood in open fires, fireplaces, stoves, or residential
boilers will cause toxic compounds to be emitted into the air and to settle
in the ash as well.
Do not use CCA-treated wood
for wood chips, mulch or compost because arsenic may leach into the ground.
Sawing or sanding of CCA-treated
wood should be done outdoors and on a drop-cloth, so that sawdust can be
collected and properly disposed of in a lined landfill.
Wear gloves, eye protection,
and a dust mask when machining CCA-treated wood to protect from splinters,
flying debris, and inhalation of dust and wood particles.
Wash hands thoroughly with soap
after completing work with the CCA-treated wood and prior to eating, drinking
Remove any clothing with CCA-treated
wood dust on it and wash separately.
CCA-treated wood should only
be disposed of in a lined landfill, not an incinerator.
If you do not know if your residential
trash goes to a lined landfill, call the Franklin County Solid Waste District
at 413-772-2438 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do not dispose of CCA-treated
wood in a backyard compost pile, brush pile, chipping pile, or trash incinerator.
to Using CCA-Treated Wood:
Better for the environment
and human health!
Alternatives to CCA-treated
wood include: wood treated with
Ammoniacal Copper Quaternary
(ACQ), recycled plastic lumber and wood/plastic composites, cedar, other
wood, and reused lumber.
wood contains no EPA-listed hazardous compounds. It meets
the same standards as CCA-treated wood for above ground and ground contact
for both the International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO) and
the American Wood Preservers Association (AWPA).
plastic lumber and wood/plastic composites are extremely durable
and require little maintenance. Plastic lumber can be sawed or drilled,
and it also resists graffiti. Plastic lumber works best in low-load
structural applications, such as decking, walkways, benches, and tables.
It is not intended for load-bearing elements, such as posts, joists, and
beams. Plastic lumber typically costs more to purchase, but when
maintenance, repair, and replacement are factored in, plastic wood may
cost less than traditional lumber.
is a naturally rot-resistant wood.
types of wood, such as spruce, may be used to avoid chemicals but
might have to be replaced sooner. Spruce may last 10 years in an
area with moderate precipitation and few wood-boring pests.
lumber can be found at some building material reuse centers. Contact EcoBuilding Bargains in Springfield at 413-788-6900.
This information was produced
with funding from the
USDA Rural Utilities Service.
Franklin County Solid Waste Management
50 Miles Street
Greenfield, MA 01301
Tel: (413) 772-2438
MA Relay for the hearing impaired:
711 or 1-800-439-2370 (TTY/TDD)
Fax: (413) 772-3786
Staff email addresses
This website is made possible through
a grant from the
USDA Rural Utilities Service.
FCSWMD is an equal opportunity provider.
Opportunity Disclosure Statement.