on Use of CCA-Treated Timber
on Use of CCA-Treated Timber
2004, the use of CCA-treated timber has been severely curtailed
with an amendment of the European Union Commission Directive 76/769/EEC.
This amendment now states that arsenic compounds may not be used
‘in the preservation of wood. Furthermore, wood so treated
may not be placed on the market’. The only exceptions are
wood to be used in industrial installation that ‘the structural
integrity of the wood is required for human or livestock safety
and skin contact by the general public during is service life is
unlikely’. The following uses are specifically not allowed
(Commission Directive 2003/2/EC, 6 January 2003):
- in residential
or domestic constructions, whatever the purpose,
- in any
application where there is a risk of repeated skin contact
agricultural purposes other than for livestock fence posts and
any application where treated wood may come into contact with
intermediate or finished products intended for human and/or animal
amendment therefore restricts the marketing and use of both the
CCA chemical as well as timber treated with CCA, and will also apply
to imported treated wood and waste wood in re-use. In addition,
it is anticipated that from 2007, CCA preservatives will require
authorisation according to The Biocidal Products Directive (BPD)19
(Enviros Consulting et al, 2004). The EU regulations, however, do
not apply to CCA-treated wood already in service. CCA-treated timber
has not been as extensively used in Europe as it has in Australia
amendment is the consequence of a risk assessment by the European
Commission Enterprise Directorate General that identified a number
of unacceptable risks, including risks to children from CCA-treated
timber play equipment, environmental risks from combustion and disposal
(including leaching in landfill) and to aquatic organisms, and health
risks from use of CCA-treated timber (cited in DEFRA, 2003).
Communities’ Scientific Committee for Toxicity, Ecotoxicity
and the Environment (CSTEE) evaluated this risk assessment, and
determined that no threshold exists for the carcinogenic effects
of arsenic (which is also known to be genotoxic). The CSTEE could
not establish the arsenic-related risks of landfill disposal of
CCA-treated timber, which is classified as a hazardous waste by
the Commission in 2000, and thus concluded that it was appropriate
to apply the precautionary principle and, in the absence of proof
of harm, reduce the production of CCA-treated timber as much as
possible because it is likely to cause serious harm (CSTEE, 2003).
timber industry has responded to these Directives by considering
alternative treatments in order to maintain their market share over
other materials. A representative from Arch Timber Protection UK,
has boasted that since moving away from arsenic- and chromium-based
timber preservatives in the mid-1990s, ‘companies embraced
the challenge and through the change to copper based preservatives,
aggressively marketed own brands and unique features of their products.
Contrary to many forecasts, the industry has flourished and benefited
from the changes as treated wood continues to be the material of
choice’ (Connell, 2004).
after a consultation process by the Department of Environment, Food
and Rural Affairs, Great Britain adapted the above EC regulations
(DEFRA, 2003). This resulted in closer attention being put on the
timber treatment industry, with legal action being taken against
a CCA timber treatment company for improper and unsafe use of pesticides
and a fine of £30,000. Anglian Timber was found guilty of
machining timber within 48 hours of treatment, transporting wet
(unfixed) timber, and not providing personal protective equipment
for employees (EHN Online, 2004).
in Northern Europe the use of chromium-based preservatives is also
being restricted and they are banned in Denmark (Connell, 2004).
M. (2004), ‘Issues Facing Preservative Suppliers in a Changing
Market For Treated Wood’, Paper presented to COST Action
E22: Environmental Optimisation of Wood Protection, Lisboa œ
Portugal, 22- 23 March.
(Scientific Committee on Toxicity, Ecotoxicity and the Environment)
(2003), ‘Commission Directive 2003/2/EC of 6 January 2003
relating to restrictions on the marketing and use of arsenic (tenth
adaptation to technical progress to Council Directive 76/769/EEC)’,
Official Journal of the European Communities, January 9, L 4/9.
(2003), Consultation on the transposition of the 10th adaptation
to technical progress of Annex I to Council Directive 76/769/EEC
relating to restrictions on the marketing and use of arsenic in
England, Scotland and Wales (Great Britain), August, Department
for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Great Britain.
Online (2004), ‘Timber firm exposed employees to pesticides’,
Environmental Health News Online, http://www.ehn-online.com/cgi-bin/news/legals/epavafeyzuucodpohu.html;
Consulting and The BioComposites Centre, University of Wales (2004),
Treated Wood Waste: Assessment of the Waste Management Challenge,
The Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP), UK.