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Arsenic-Free Wood Preservative Receives 2002 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award
(from August 13, 2002)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has presented Chemical Specialties, Inc. (CSI) the 2002 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award for its environmentally advanced wood preservative, ACQ Preserve®. CSI developed ACQ (alkaline copper quaternary) as an arsenic-free replacement for CCA (chromated copper arsenate).

Over the past few years, scientists, environmentalists and regulators have raised concerns regarding the risks arsenic poses to children who come into contact with CCA-treated wood in playground equipment, picnic tables and decks. The wood treatment industry has voluntarily agreed to phase out the use of CCA for domestic uses over the next few years. The shift will eliminate the use of 40 million pounds of arsenic and 64 million pounds of hexavalent chromium each year.

Dr. Henry S. Cole, president of Cole & Associates who acted as a consultant to CSI, stated, "… The phase out of CCA will virtually eliminate the use of arsenic in the U.S. since 90 percent of the arsenic in this country is used for CCA." Cole added, "CSI' development of ACQ is a good example of how a company can reap commercial benefits by addressing public concerns on the environment."

While ACQ does not contain arsenic, environmentalists are concerned about its use as a replacement to CCA. ACQ is a chemical preservative and there has been limited testing for human health effects. The safest alternative to CCA treated wood is naturally pest and rot resistant wood which has been sustainably harvested, such as cedar or redwood.

For more information on CCA treated wood visit Beyond Pesticides Wood Preservatives Program.