Pressure Treated Wood Distributing False Information
(Beyond Pesticides, July 25, 2003) In July 2003, Beyond Pesticides sent a letter to EPA informing the agency that retailers of chromated copper arsenate (CCA) treated wood are distributing false and misleading information concerning the safety of this pesticide treated wood. This mis-information, particularly a brochure entitled "Questions & Answers Concerning Pressure Treated Lumber" with the "ProWood" logo on it, is an apparent effort to contradict or downplay safety and precautionary information in Consumer Information Sheets that are to be distributed with CCA-treated wood as part of EPA's Consumer Awareness Program (CAP).
Following a 1984 special review, EPA instituted CAP to mitigate the hazards of CCA use by informing consumers at the point of sale about some of the dangers of the wood and inform them about safe handling practices. EPA found risk mitigation measures necessary to assure that the use of CCA-treated wood does not pose unreasonable adverse effects. These measures were needed in order to continue the registration of CCA. EPA specified certain information and the precise wording to be furnished to consumers in the form of Consumer Information Sheets (CIS) at the point of sale. In 1986, the agency changed CAP to a voluntary program but did not amend the language it specified for inclusion in CISs.
The ProWood Q&A brochure, which was being distributed by Home Depot in June 2003, contains quite a number of false and misleading statements that directly contradict the language specified by EPA. For example:
In its letter to EPA, Beyond Pesticides calls for the agency to immediately contact ProWood and the other treated wood industry groups to advise them that this practice is unacceptable and in violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and CAP. The letter also calls for an immediate enforcement investigation of this situation and for appropriate sanctions. For more information on CCA-treated wood, see Beyond Pesticides Wood Preservatives program page.