The end of this month sees new regulations coming into force, reducing the end uses of chromated copper arsenate preservatives (CCA) as part of an attempt to improve the safety rules surrounding the sale and use of CCA-treated wood and wood-based products. The UK regulations implement the provisions of an EU Directive, which restricts the applications of CCA-treated timber to professional and industrial use. CCA-treated wood may still be placed on the market where the structural integrity of the wood is required for human or livestock safety and skin contact by the public during its service life is unlikely.

The new regulations list applications that CCA-treated timber can and cannot be used for and the details of the regulations can be found on the federation’s website

CCA preservatives have been in use since 1933 and have enabled timber to be used in all sorts of situations where timber could otherwise not have been used due to fungal, beetle, termite or marine borer attack!

The EU Scientific Committee has prim-arily based its decision on the desire to reduce the disposal to landfill of such materials when they reach the end of their life. Importantly, the regulations do not apply to CCA-treated timber already in place. This copies the example in the US where the Environmental Protection Agency has advised that there is no reason to remove or replace existing CCA-treated structures, including decks or playground equipment.

We should emphasise that companies have already put in place a variety of alternative treatment products and therefore no shortages in the supply of treated timber for any end use is anticipated.

The British Wood Preserving and Damp-proofing Association has much more information available on this important subject and I would strongly advise any interested parties to visit the association’s website