Safe Removal of Hazardous Timber is Minnesota Focus
Edina, MN— To offset the health hazards and rotting
of residential wood timbers treated with chromated copper arsenate, Allan
Block Corporation and Waste Management launched their metro-area Treated
Timber Replacement Program, offering proper disposal of dangerous timbers
and permanent landscaping alternatives.
Touted for its resistance to decomposition, CCA-treated
timbers were used for thousands of landscaping projects in the 1970s and
1980s. During these two decades, Minnesotans installed 35 million square
feet of treated timber. Today, many local businesses and homeowners are
disappointed with the deterioration of their timbers.
"We're facing the daunting task of replacing all
of our community's timber retaining walls," said Bob Skrentner of
Edina, Minnesota. Skrentner represents nearly 60 residents who live in
the West Village Townhouse complex and have prioritized the need to replace
their community's eyesore -- deteriorating timber walls, which were installed
in the 1970s.
In March, the Environmental Protection Agency finalized
a voluntary cancellation by the wood treatment industry to withdraw CCA-treated
wood intended for residential uses in structures such as decks, picnic
tables, landscaping timbers, gazebos, residential fencing, patios, walkways
and play structures after December 30, 2003.
Saturating timbers with CCA had been the most common
wood treatment procedure for decades. CCA contains arsenic, a human carcinogen.
The EPA is seeking reduced exposure to this chemical for children, who
may be subject to the greatest exposure to treated timbers in residential
Safety tips for minimizing unnecessary exposure to CCA-treated
• Always wash hands thoroughly after contact with
wood, especially prior to eating and drinking.
• Never burn treated wood in open fires, stoves, fireplaces or residential
• Never let food come into direct contact with treated wood.
• Always follow precautions out-lined by the EPA before working
with CCA-treated wood.