In-Situ CCA-Treated Timber
CCA-treated timber that is currently in-service or in-situ leaches chemicals and these chemicals can be transferred onto people’s hands and wash into the surrounding soil. Combustion of CCA-treated timber fences and decks, for example during bush-fires, produces environmentally-harmful dioxins and furans, as well as elevated levels of heavy metals. Although the APVMA review recommends that CCA-treated timber not be used in certain residential situations in future, it does not address the timber currently in place in similar situations. If it isn’t safe for future use, it isn’t safe for current use. It is recommended that:
- CCA-treated timber is removed from use in all residential and public spaces within the next two years;
- Whilst CCA-treated timber remains in place it should be sign-posted with warning signs to ensure that people do not touch it, as already occurs in parts of the US;
- CCA-treated timber that remains in place should be coated with water-borne acrylic paints and stains every six months but permanently tagged so that it can later be identified;
- All access to arsenic-contaminated public and residential sites should be publicly listed by governments on a contaminated site registry and controlled until the sites can be fully remediated;
- Funding should be allocated for removal and cleanup with significant contributions from the timber preservative industry.