News Analysis

EPA Limits Wood Preservative ACC to Commercial Uses

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has decided not to allow the use of acid copper chromate (ACC) as a wood preservative for lumber in residential applications such as decks, playgrounds, and picnic tables. ACC, which contains the known carcinogen hexavalent chromium, will continue to be allowed for commercial uses such as marine pilings and highway structures.

“The U.S. continues to set the gold standard for pesticide safety,” said assistant EPA administrator Jim Guilford, announcing the January 2007 ruling. “Today’s decision protects American families, workers, and the environment.” According to EPA, the agency weighed potential problems for consumers, including the risk of cancer and skin irritation, against the “minimal benefits” represented by the product. Wood treated with ACC also needs a long holding period to allow the chemical to cure and become less harmful, and EPA deemed that unlikely to happen. The wood treatment industry has largely turned in recent years to arsenic- and chromium-free, copper-based wood preservatives, which are generally recognized as effective while being less hazardous to human health. While ACC is free from arsenic, the chromium content means that it has some of the same concerns as chromated copper arsenate (CCA), which the wood treatment industry withdrew from most residential uses in 2003 (see

Published February 1, 2007

Roberts, T. (2007, February 1). EPA Limits Wood Preservative ACC to Commercial Uses. Retrieved from