Urgent Need for Show of Public Support for the Arsenic in Playground Equipment amendment (SA 1228). Please contact your Senators and Representative and urge them to support this important piece of legislation.

ITEM: Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) successfully attached the Arsenic in Playground Equipment amendment to the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Act, 2002 (VA HUD) (H.R. 2620).

Facts: • Arsenic is classified by EPA as a “Known Human Carcinogen.”
• Arsenic leaches out of lumber treated with chromated copper arsenate (CCA) in to the soil and onto the surface of the wood.
• CCA-treated wood is used to make playground equipment.
• Children playing on and around CCA-treated playgrounds pick up arsenic on their hands.
• Children stick their hands and other objects into their mouths.

What do you get when you add up these facts?

Our children’s health is at risk because they are ingesting arsenic.

Background: Wood preserving chemicals remain in the news as elevated levels of arsenic and pentachlorophenol are discovered in soil near treated-wood structures. The heavy-duty wood preservatives, namely the inorganic arsenicals (including chromated copper arsenate or CCA) pentachlorophenol (penta) and creosote, rank among the most toxic chemicals known. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is in the process of reevaluating the heavy-duty wood preservatives and is scheduled to publish the Reregistration Eligibility Decisions (REDs) some time in 2003. EPA originally claimed that the REDs would be complete in 1998.

The pace at which EPA has conducted the reevaluation of the heavy-duty wood preservatives does not adequately protect the health of our children. The agency needs to take action to remove this unnecessary threat of arsenic poisoning created by continued use of CCA and the other arsenic based wood preservatives.

Senator Nelson’s legislation requires that not later than 30 days after the date of enactment of VA HUD, EPA, in consultation with the Consumer Product Safety Commission, submit a report to Congress that includes:

(1) the Environmental Protection Agency’s most up-to-date understanding of the potential health and safety risks to children playing on and around CCA-treated wood playground equipment;

(2) the Environmental Protection Agency’s current recommendations to state and local governments about the continued use of CCA-treated wood playground equipment; and

(3) an assessment of whether consumers considering purchasing of CCA-treated playground equipment are adequately informed concerning the health effects associated with arsenic.

You can help. Contact your congress people and urge them to support the Arsenic in Playground Equipment amendment, SA 1228. Click here to read SA 1228

If you are not sure how to contact your congress people, visit the Thomas website. To locate your senators visit: http://www.senate.gov/senators/senator_by_state.cfm. To locate your representative visit: http://www.house.gov/writerep/.

For more information contact:

John Kepner
Beyond Pesticides
701 E Street, SE
Suite 200
Washington, DC 2003
[email protected].