News Analysis

U.S. Government Acknowledges CCA Risk

Children who play on wooden playsets treated with chromated copper arsenate (CCA) may face an increased risk of cancer, according to a study just released by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). In the federal government’s first recognition of health risks resulting from CCA-treated wood, the study estimates that between 2 and 100 children out of every million who play on CCA-treated wood will develop lung or bladder cancer because of their exposure to arsenic. The study considered the frequency and length of play sessions as well as the effects of children’s hand-to-mouth behavior, a primary means of exposure to the carcinogen. The risk is believed to be unchanged by the age of the treated wood and whether it was designed specifically for use in playgrounds.

In use since the 1930s, CCA has been the most popular means of pressure-treating wood for outdoor applications since the 1970s. Early in 2002, however, manufacturers of CCA and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reached an agreement to ban sale of the registered chemical pesticide for use on playgrounds and most residential applications, beginning in 2004 (see EBN

Vol. 11, No. 2). EPA has not called for removal of existing CCA-treated structures, however, and CCA-treated wood will remain available until the existing stock is sold, likely through mid-2004.

Published March 1, 2003

(2003, March 1). U.S. Government Acknowledges CCA Risk. Retrieved from