Publication Details

Lansbury, N and Beder, S, Treated Timber, Toxic Time-bomb: The Need for a Precautionary Approach to the Use of Copper Chrome Arsenate (CCA) as a Timber Preservative, University of Wollongong, February 2005.


Timber preserved with Copper Chrome Arsenate (CCA) is ubiquitous in Australia. Wood, such as radiata pine, is treated with CCA to protect it from insects, rot and fungus. CCA-treated timber is commonly used on telegraph poles, decking, fencing, landscaping, vineyard stakes, picnic tables and in playgrounds. However the arsenic in CCA leaches out of CCA-treated timber and arsenic is toxic and can cause cancer in the long-term.

There is a growing body of scientific evidence that timber treated with CCA poses a danger to both humans and the environment. As a result, authorities around the world are imposing tighter restrictions on its manufacture, use and disposal. This report investigates a range of concerns and issues surrounding its manufacture, use and disposal.