Chromated arsenicals, which includes chromated copper arsenate (CCA), is a group of pesticides containing chromium, copper, and/or arsenic that protect wood against termites, fungi and other pests that can degrade or threaten the integrity of wood products. Chromated arsenicals-treated wood is used to produce commercial wood shake, shingles, permanent foundation support beams and other wood products permitted by approved labeling. EPA is currently reevaluating all chromated arsenicals as part of the Registration Review program (see Docket Number EPA-HQ-OPP-2015-0349 at https://www.regulations.gov).
- Chromated arsenicals has been used as a wood preservative pesticide since the 1940s.
- Chromated arsenicals pesticides are applied using specialized high-pressure equipment in wood treatment facilities by certified pesticide applicators only.
- Prior to 2004, wood treated with chromated arsenicals was used in residential structures such as decks and playsets.
- In December 2003, chromated arsenicals manufacturers voluntarily discontinued manufacturing chromated arsenicals-treated wood products for homeowner uses.
- However, EPA has not banned chromated arsenicals and does not require the removal of existing structures made with wood treated with chromated arsenicals or the surrounding soil.
- If you have an older deck or other structure made with chromated arsenicals-treated wood, applying a penetrating protective coating (such as oil- or water-based stains) on a regular basis may reduce the leaching of chemicals.
- Alternatives to chromated arsenicals-treated wood include the following:
- Wood treated with other preservatives approved by EPA;
- Wood-alternative and composite materials; and
- Species of wood that are resistant to pests.
Disposing of Items Treated with Chromated Arsenicals Safely
- Although chromated arsenicals pesticide products are not available to homeowners, individuals may encounter wood treated with chromated arsenicals in a residential setting (e.g., existing treated structures).
- Reuse of chromated arsenicals-treated wood is not subject to regulation by EPA under pesticide laws.
- If homeowners need to dispose of chromated arsenicals-treated wood, it can usually be disposed of by ordinary trash collection (i.e., as municipal solid waste)
- However, state and local governments may have specific guidance or instructions for disposing of treated wood, so please check with your state or local waste management program.
- Wood treated with chromated arsenicals should not be reused in products such as mulch.
- Do not burn CCA or other preservative-treated wood in a residential setting to avoid possible inhalation of toxic chemicals in the smoke and ash.
- Wear goggles and a dust mask when sawing wood treated with chromated arsenicals, and wash your hands after handling.
- The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) is the federal law that creates the framework for the proper management and disposal of hazardous and nonhazardous solid waste.