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Daily News Archive
From March 16, 2001

Lawsuit Brought Against Manufacturers and Dealers of CCA Treated Wood

On March 9, 2001 a class action lawsuit was brought in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida on behalf of people who have been exposed and/or come into substantial contact with wood treated with copper chromium arsenate (CCA). The defendants named in the lawsuit are Osmose, Inc., Hickson Corp., USA, Hickson Corp., International, and Arch Chemicals, as manufacturers, and Home Depot, Lowe's Home Centers, Inc. as dealers of the treated wood.

The suit alleges that the defendants have engaged in advertising, marketing, distribution and sales campaigns promoting the supposed quality and safety of CCA treated lumber. The defendants had reason to know that CCA wood was unsafe and yet they concealed from the general public the potential dangers and harmful effects of exposure to the chemicals that leach out of the wood.

The complaint includes the following examples of the written materials produced by Osmose and Hickson to encourage the use of CCA wood:

Treated wood is harmless to people, plants, pets, the environment;

Treated wood is safe in all applications;

CCA in the wood is extremely leach resistant because it reacts chemically with the wood and is actually "fixed" in the fibers, and there is no evidence that it will leak out and harm vegetables or plants;

[CCA treated wood]: It's Good for Life.

Peer reviewed scientific studies have established that the chemicals in CCA do, in fact, leach out of treated wood. A recent study conducted by the University of Florida's Center for Solid Waste Management (FCSWM) measured the arsenic in soil under wood decks made with CCA treated wood. Samples contained arsenic levels as high as 28 mg arsenic/kg soil. Florida's soil clean-up target level for arsenic is 0.8 mg/kg. Click here to visit the FCSWM website.

Beyond Pesticides has been involved in a campaign that would see a phase out in the use of CCA as well as pentachlorophenol and creosote. All of these chemicals rank with the most toxic chemicals known. For more information about the hazards associated with wood preservatives see our two reports Poison Poles and Pole Pollution, both available on our website.