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Just In Case You Thought Treated Wood Was OK For Garden Uses

  • Subject: [cg] Just In Case You Thought Treated Wood Was OK For Garden Uses
  • From: Adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 10 Feb 2003 15:41:09 EST


This came across Associated Press. Now while I have difficulty believing much 
of what I hear from the US government, for an announcement like this to come 
out in the middle of this Conservative, pro-business administration is 
significant. I forward this to you for your "evidence" file, the next time 
somebody tells you there's a sale on treated wood at the nearby Wall Mart, 
and wouldn't you like to use it for your garden?

Best wishes,
Adam Honigman

Playground Equipment May Pose Cancer Risk

.c The Associated Press 

WASHINGTON (AP) - Children could face an increased lifetime risk of 
developing lung or bladder cancer from using playground equipment made of 
wood treated with arsenic, the nation's top product safety official said 

Almost all wood playground equipment now in use has been treated with a 
pesticide called chromated copper arsenate, said Hal Stratton, chairman of 
the Consumer Product Safety Commission. He said children can get arsenic 
residue from the treated wood on their hands and then put their hands in 
their mouths.

Stratton said the agency's scientists recommend that parents and caregivers 
thoroughly wash children's hands with soap and water immediately after 
youngsters play on playground equipment made of the treated wood. Children 
also should not eat while on the equipment, he said.

The safety agency will hold a public meeting next month to consider a 
proposed ban on the arsenic-based preservative in playground equipment. 
Advocacy groups petitioned for a ban in 2001.

Last year, preservative manufacturers agreed with the Environmental 
Protection Agency to stop using the chemical in new wood playsets and other 
consumer products by December 2003. An EPA report on the risks of the 
pressure-treated wood is expected later this year.

To figure a child's cancer risk from treated playground equipment, 
researchers considered factors including how much arsenic is released from 
wood, the amount picked up on hands and transferred to the mouth and the time 
a child spends with the equipment. Researchers said an average child visits 
playgrounds three times each week.

The study found that for every 1 million kids exposed to the treated wood 
that frequently during early childhood, two to 100 of them might develop lung 
or bladder cancer later in life because of that exposure. This increase is in 
addition to other risks of getting cancer.

The range of risk is large because of differing estimates of how likely 
arsenic is to cause cancer, agency spokesman Ken Giles said. Some of the data 
came from studies in Taiwan, where there are higher levels of arsenic in 
drinking water.

Lung cancer is the most common form of cancer; bladder cancer is more rare. 
The greatest risk factor for both is smoking.

Mike Casey, a spokesman for the Environmental Working Group, one of the 
groups seeking a ban, said the study supports their position that the treated 
wood is dangerous.

Wood preservatives containing arsenic and dioxin have been increasingly 
targeted as unsafe by advocacy groups. Those preservatives have been commonly 
used in utility poles, wood decks and playgrounds.

The safety commission did not study other products because the ban petition 
only involved playgrounds, Stratton said.

Arsenic, both manufactured and naturally occurring, is known to cause cancer, 
but the preservative industry has said the arsenic-based preservative has 
never been linked to skin disease or cancer in children and its wood is safe 
when used properly.

The safety commission and the EPA are studying ways to coat treated wood with 
a sealant to prevent arsenic from coming through.

EPA began requiring consumer warning labels on treated lumber containing 
arsenic in 2001.

On the Net:

Consumer Product Safety Commission: http://www.cpsc.gov

Environmental Protection Agency: http://www.epa.gov

02/10/03 07:25 EST
Copyright 2003 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news 
report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed 
without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.  All active 
hyperlinks have been inserted by AO

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