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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'CCA' Category


EPA Inspector General Report Cites Agency Failures in Cleanup of Wood Preservatives at Superfund Site

(Beyond Pesticides, April 23, 2024) The Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a report last week finding that the agency has failed to establish “institutional controls” at the American Creosote Works Superfund Site in Pensacola, Florida, leading to continuous groundwater and soil contamination that “leav[es] the public at risk of exposure.” The 1980 Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) established the Superfund program, codified under 42 U.S.C. Chapter 103, to clean up contaminated sites with tax money from polluting industries. The OIG made eight recommendations for the regional EPA administrator and one for the assistant administrator “for Land and Emergency Management to improve the institutional controls at American Creosote Works Superfund Site.” There are three main determinations found in the results section of the OIG report: first, the institutional controls to prevent potential exposure were either “insufficient or unimplemented;” second, the EPA missed its mark in communicating associated risks to the public in areas surrounding this Superfund site; and third, the full administrative record for this site was not available at the time of inspection. This report builds on what advocates argue is the sustained legacy of EPA inaction and failure to […]



Carcinogenic Pollutant Found in Drinking Water Across U.S.

(Beyond Pesticides, January 4, 2011) A report released by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) finds that drinking water in 31 cities across the country is contaminated with hexavalent chromium, or chromium-6, a carcinogenic chemical contaminant with numerous sources including treated wood utility poles that line streets and backyards across the the United States. Wood treated with chromated copper arsenate (CCA), such as playgrounds, decks, and railroad ties, in addition to utility poles, can leach the chemicals into soils and groundwater, creating serious risks to public health. Other common sources of chromium-6 pollution include discharge from steel and pulp mills as well as metal-plating and leather-tanning facilities. It can also pollute water through erosion of natural deposits. The use of CCA in the treatment of utility poles is notable not only because of the presence of poles in numerous communities throughout the country, but also because utility companies often donate or sell decommissioned poles, which are then used by homeowners to line walkways and gardens or create structures around the yard, unknowingly contributing to the proliferation of these toxic substances. Beyond Pesticides has worked on the issue of wood treatments, including CCA, since the mid-1980s and has advocated for the adoption […]



Dangerous Arsenic from Treated Wood Playground Equipment Still Being Found Where Children Play

(Beyond Pesticides, November 25, 2009) Although phased out from use in playground, deck and landscaping timbers, chromated-copper-arsenic (CCA), a hazardous wood preservative still allowed for use on utility poles, continues to be found on children’s playgrounds. Researchers at Tulane University sampled playgrounds from the city of New Orleans metropolitan area and found significant amounts of arsenic in the soils. Tulane University’s Center for Bioenvironmental Research Howard Mielke, PhD and his colleagues, concerned about risks to children posed by treated wood, used a portable X-ray fluorescence instrument to survey playgrounds for arsenic. Their results, presented at the 30th annual North American meeting of the Society of Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry and entitled “Soil arsenic surveys of New Orleans: Localized hazards in children’s play areas,” finds that 56.8% of wood sampled are treated with CCA and 78% of soils sampled from playgrounds contain levels of arsenic greater than the state “acceptable” level. One playground in particular contains CCA-treated wood that had been chipped and used as a cushioning ground surface around slides, swings and other equipment from which a child might fall. These chips contain high concentrations -813 to 1,654 ppm- of leachable arsenic. Note: The researchers informed the school of the […]



Study Shows Hexavalent Chromium Is Carcinogenic Via Chronic Oral Exposure

(Beyond Pesticides, January 5, 2009) According to a new study published December 2008 in the online edition of Environmental Health Perspectives, hexavalent chromium (or chromium VI) found in the wood preservatives chromated copper arsenate (CCA) and acid copper chromate (ACC), is a human carcinogen following chronic oral exposure. Previous studies have shown that hexavalent chromium compounds can increase the risk of lung cancer via inhalation exposure. Chromium VI is the notorious chemical that caused cancer in the residents of Hinkley, CA and brought to light by the work of Erin Brockovich. The National Toxicology Program (NTP) conducted 2-year drinking water studies of chromium VI (as sodium dichromate dihydrate) in male and female F344/N rats and B6C3F1 mice. Exposure resulted in increased incidences of rare neoplasms of the squamous epithelium that lines the oral cavity (oral mucosa and tongue) in male and female rats, and of the epithelium lining the small intestine in male and female mice. The authors determined that chromium Vi is carcinogenic following administration in drinking water to male and female rats and mice. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) each have […]



Arsenic Exposure Linked to Diabetes

(Beyond Pesticides, September 8, 2008) Inorganic arsenic may increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Common sources of inorganic arsenic exposure include dietary exposure, drinking water pollution, and contamination associated with arsenic wood preservatives such as sawdust, smoke, direct contact, and hazardous waste sites. The study found that individuals with diabetes have higher levels of arsenic in the urine compared to individuals without diabetes. Researchers examined randomly selected urine samples taken from 788 U.S. adults 20 years or older that participated in a 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The results were adjusted for diabetes risk factors, including body mass index and for organic arsenic compounds found in seafood. “Our findings suggest that low levels of exposure to inorganic arsenic may play a role in diabetes,” said Ana Navas-Acien, MD, PhD, lead author of the study and assistant professor with the Bloomberg School’s Department of Environmental Health Sciences. “While prospective studies are needed to establish whether this association is causal, these findings add to the existing concerns about the long-term health consequences of low […]



Officials To Monitor Arsenic in Children Living by Former Pesticide Plant

(Beyond Pesticides, November 26, 2007) Minnesota’s Department of Health (MDH) plans to measure arsenic levels in 100 children who live near a former pesticide production site in south Minneapolis. Pesticides containing arsenic, a known human carcinogen, were made and stored at the CMC Heartland site between 1938 and 1963. The pilot project follows the passage of health tracking and biomonitoring legislation and would help to determine whether children in south Minneapolis have elevated levels of arsenic in their bodies. Children who are found to have elevated levels would be advised to seek medical attention. Also, health officials would give families information to help them determine how they might be exposed to arsenic (including the soil, green-treated lumber, foods, dietary supplements and cigarette smoke) and to take steps to reduce the exposure in the future. Health Department staff members aim to begin the project in the summer of 2008 and will present preliminary plans and accept feedback on the proposal at a public meeting at December 6 at 7 p.m. at the Midtown YWCA, 2121 E. Lake St. Health officials have said that the risk from the contaminated soil is low, particularly since much of the contaminated soil is under grass […]



Katrina Results in Increased Arsenic Levels

(Beyond Pesticides, February 9, 2007) The effects of Hurricane Katrina are still being felt in the Gulf Coast, a year and a half after it hit. Research shows one of the secondary effects of Katrina is increased arsenic levels, largely due to debris treated with the wood preservative chromated copper arsenate (CCA). The debris, mostly originating from damaged and destroyed residential buildings, total 72 million cubic meters, of which 16% has been estimated to be wood, and all of which must be added to landfills. The resulting risk to groundwater is an estimated 1,740 metric tons of arsenic, much of which has been deposited into unlined landfills. The source of this arsenic is primarily from chemically treated lumber, as chromated copper arsenate (CCA) was once commonly used to pressure-treat wood. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has since banned the use of CCA in residential projects, but many older structures still contain the treated wood. A study, released online in the January 2007 issue of Environmental Science & Technology, led by Helena Solo-Gabriele, Ph.D., of the University of Miami and Brajesh Dubey, Ph.D., of the University of Florida, surveyed debris in New Orleans. Out of 225 pieces of lumber tested in […]