Daily News Archive
From August 24, 2001

Puppy Dies After Chewing on CCA-Treated Wood Scrape

Dr. Wayne Chaulk, M.D., a general practitioner in Newfoundland, Canada, describes the situation as "absolutely terrifying," according to a July 21, 2001 article in The Telegram (St. John). His granddaughter's puppy died within minutes of chewing on a piece of pressure-treated wood used in the construction of Dr. Chaulk's deck. He says if he could do it over he would use cedar, spruce, or pine - anything but wood treated with an arsenic based wood preservative.

Both Health Canada and the Environmental Protection Agency are in the process of reevaluating whether the three heavy-duty wood preservatives, namely in inorganic arsenicals (such as chromated copper arsenate (CCA)), pentachlorophenol (penta), and creosote, should be taken off the market because of their extreme toxicity. These wood preserving pesticides rank with the most toxic chemicals on the market. All of them cause cancer and a host of other ailments.

Most of the lumber used for outdoor construction is treated with CCA in both the U.S. and Canada. EPA classifies arsenic and chromium (VI), two components of CCA, as "known human carcinogens." A single 12-foot 2x6 contains approximately 27 grams of arsenic. 27 grams of arsenic is enough to kill 250 adult humans, according to Environment Canada. It's easy to see how a puppy, or other youngster, could ingest a deadly amount of arsenic from mouthing a piece of CCA-treated wood.

Beyond Pesticides has published two reports on the health risks linked to exposure to CCA, penta and creosote. Poison Poles examines the toxic trail left by these chemicals through manufacture, use and disposal. Pole Pollution focuses on EPA's health risk of penta. Both reports are available on Beyond Pesticides' website. Click here for an Action Alert on CCA and learn how you can take action.