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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 settings.

Safety tips for minimizing unnecessary exposure to CCA-treated timbers include:

• 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 boilers.
• Never let food come into direct contact with treated wood.
• Always follow precautions out-lined by the EPA before working with CCA-treated wood.

 

 

 

 

 


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