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E-M:/ Bonior and Arsenic Treated Wood

Title: Bonior and Arsenic Treated Wood


February 13, 2002                                                  Contact: Bob Allison, (202) 225-2106

        Washington, D.C. - U.S. Rep. David E. Bonior applauded a decision this week by chemical and home-improvement industry executives to phase-out the use of arsenic-treated wood.

        Bonior first drew nationwide attention to the issue in August when he introduced a bill imposing a ban on the use of arsenic-treated wood for playground equipment.  The "Safe Playground Child Protection Act" also required labeling of all wood containing an arsenic-based preservative. 

        "This is a step in the right direction," Bonior said. "We need a complete and total ban.  Our families and their children - as well as the men and women who work with lumber - should not be exposed to this dangerous poison."

        The two-year phase-out of arsenic-treated wood for fences, decks, playground equipment and boardwalks was announced Tuesday.  But the agreement between executives and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will not affect production of wood used for utility poles, guard rails and other commercial applications.

        "Arsenic has no place in our homes, playgrounds, utility poles.  Given that there are safe alternatives we need a complete ban," Bonior said. "It cannot be denied that there is significant risk. What about exposure to our utility workers?  Why do we stop short?"

        Bonior has been a national leader in the fight against arsenic. President Bush in November signed into law a version of the Bonior Amendment establishing more stringent standards for arsenic in drinking water.