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From February 14, 2002

Lawmaker Calls For Ban On Arsenic-Treated Wood

(From KCRA TheKCRAChannel.com) A state lawmaker and activists are calling for an immediate moratorium on the use of arsenic in the kind of wood that's used in playground equipment, park benches and other home uses.

Environmental activists said the chemical doesn't stay in the wood, and that they've found it in the sand below playground structures at levels far above what's allowable in water. "The play structure itself was 74 micrograms, compared to the 2 micrograms in the child-sized glass of drinking water," activist Samantha McCarthy said.

State Senator Gloria Romero, D-Los Angeles, wants arsenic banned immediately, not phased out over the next two years as the industry volunteered to do Tuesday.

"There's acknowledgement that there's a problem with arsenic, so let's not play footsies. Let's not just voluntarily agree to do something in the future. Let's act now," Ms. Romero said.

While parents said they are concerned, they also said they would wait for more information before pulling their children off play structures.

"Well, this is only the second time we've come here. I'm not worried … unless there's a study that comes out that just a little exposure could do some harm," parent Kristine Goodman said.

Romero's bill would not only ban the use of arsenic-treated wood in California, it would also require existing play structures to either be torn down or treated with a sealant every two years.

Hardware stores across the country have begun to pull CCA-treated lumber from their shelves. All Home Depot stores in the U.S. and Canada have announced they would no longer carry the arsenic-treated wood.