You may not know it but your health problems could be linked to your wood deck.
Over 90 percent of all outdoor wooden structures in the United States and in most of the world are made with arsenic-treated lumber. Known as Chromated Copper Arsenate, or CCA, exposure to the chemicals contained in this pressure treated wood has been linked to lung cancer, bladder cancer, skin cancer, kidney cancer, prostate cancer, cancer in the nasal passages, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The effects of CCA exposure can also cause hair loss, itching skin and rashes, bleeding neurological problems, numbness in the arms and legs and gastrointestinal upsets.
CCA wood is most dangerous when it is burned and the arsenic is released into the air and it concentrates in the ashes. Just one tablespoon of ash contains a lethal dose of arsenic. “Wood decks, play sets and picnic tables all pose a risk and firefighters should protect themselves from the fumes emitted from these fires”, said Ricky E. Bagolie, an American attorney and ALA member with Bagolie Friedman Trial Lawyers who represents firefighters and is affiliated with Brisbane, Australia’s Quinn & Scattini Soliciters.
Arsenic and chromium are carcinogens and mutagens, according to the EPA and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. EPA declared that use of chromated copper arsenate, CCA, was to end by December 2003. “Exposure can occur through breathing or through repeated skin contact. High or repeated exposure can cause cancer, neurotoxicity, including paralysis, warty skin growths, and liver and kidney failure, all of which should be covered under the Workers’ Compensation System” said Bagolie