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E-M:/ Arsenic-Treated Wood Victory but Work Remains



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Enviro-Mich message from Cyndi Roper <croper@cleanwater.org>
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To follow-up on Erich Pfuehler's posting regarding the phase-out of
arsenic-treated wood (CCA-treated wood), Clean Water Action would like to
acknowledge the effort Congressman Bonior put into this issue and his tenacious
desire to be pro-active once he learned about the problem. He was the only
elected official to contact our Michigan staff about this issue, and he sought
our input in drafting the federal legislation Erich's posting referenced.

The following is Clean Water Action's press release that was issued yesterday
following the announcement CCA-treated wood phase-out announcement.

Over the past four months, more than 5,500 letters were sent by CWA's Michigan
members to Home Depot and Lowe's asking them to discontinue the sale of
CCA-treated wood. This total is included in CWA's national total of 20,000
letters referenced below. CWA's Michigan staff also provided sampling data from
a MI Home Depot, which was included in one of the two national reports released
over the past six months that highlighted the dangers of CCA-treated wood.

MUCH WORK REMAINS TO BE DONE ON CCA-TREATED WOOD AROUND ISSUES OF INFORMING THE
PUBLIC ABOUT THE LIKELY DANGERS FROM THE TREATED WOOD IN THEIR BACKYARDS AND IN
PARKS, AT SCHOOLS, AND AT OTHER PUBLIC PLACES. 

WE NEED TO ENGAGE IN ON-THE-GROUND EFFORTS AT THE COMMUNITY LEVEL IN MICHIGAN
(SIMILAR TO WHAT IS HAPPENING IN THE STATE OF FLORIDA) TO ASSESS THE AMOUNT OF
ARSENIC THAT HAS LEACHED INTO THE SOIL AND/OR REMAINS ON THE WOOD SO THE PUBLIC
CAN MAKE DECISIONS ABOUT HOW TO PROTECT THEMSELVES. 

IN ADDITION, WE NEED TO ADDRESS IMPORTANT CONCERNS ABOUT "SAFE" DISPOSAL OF
STRUCTURES, DECKING, FENCING, PICNIC TABLES, ETC. THAT ARE REMOVED AS A RESULT
OF REMEDIATION OR AT THE END OF THEIR USEFUL LIFE.

Please contact me if you would like to learn more about what to do in your
community or home.

Thanks,
Cyndi Roper, Michigan Director, Clean Water Action and Clean Water Fund
616.742.4084
<croper@cleanwater.org>


Consumer Pressure Helps Remove Poisonous Product 
Washington, D.C.  Clean Water Action welcomed today’s announcement of an
impending commercial phase-out of the wood treatment chemical Chromated Copper
Arsenate (CCA).  Over the last eight months, Clean Water Action (CWA) has led a
consumer awareness campaign that mobilized 20,000 consumers to send letters to
major retailers Home Depot and Lowe’s asking both local stores and national
headquarters to remove CCA-treated wood from their shelves and offer
alternatives.  

“We are relieved that the wood preserving industry recognizes that consumers
don’t need or want arsenic-treated wood,” said Cyndi Roper, Michigan Director
for Clean Water Action, “though we remain concerned that the treated wood is
still exempt from hazardous waste disposal requirements.” CCA-treated wood was
given a hazardous waste exemption before it was clear that arsenic and chromium
leach from the wood.  The 75 billion board feet of CCA-treated wood currently
in use will continue to threaten groundwater if they are disposed of in unlined
landfills.

Consumer pressure sped what could have been a protracted process to review the
health impacts of CCA and the safety of products made with CCA-treated wood. 
While CCA has been suspect for many years, renewed efforts by public interest
organizations - like the Healthy Building Network - led to regulatory reviews
and increasing concern on the federal level and many states.

Other CWA activities included: participation in efforts urging the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency and the Consumer Product Safety Commission to
review the health impacts of CCA; work with local and state officials for
restrictions; wood sampling and press events to release the November 2001
report, The Poisonwood Rivals.

Clean Water Action, long involved in the controversy over the federal standard
for arsenic in drinking water, became aware of CCA as a potential source of
unnecessary and increasing human exposures to arsenic and contamination of
drinking water sources.  Arsenic is known to cause skin, lung and bladder
cancer and is linked to diabetes, heart disease and other health effects. 

“This announcement proves that when consumers take action to ensure safe
materials and healthy choices, manufacturers and government listen,” said Lynn
Thorp, CWA National Campaigns Coordinator.

Clean Water Action is a national organization working to ensure clean, safe and
affordable water, prevention of healththreatening pollution and creation of
environmentallysafe jobs and businesses. CWA has more than 700,000 members
nationwide and more than 60,000 in Michigan. 

###


At 07:30 PM 2/14/2002 -0500, Pfuehler, Erich wrote: 

BONIOR APPLAUDS ARSENIC-TREATED WOOD DECISION

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.




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