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.