Many homeowners enjoy the outdoors from the comfort of their decks. From barbeques to bird watching, decks provide a lot of living space. But did you know that if your deck was built before 2004, it may have been treated with toxic chemicals that could harm your family?
Wood treated with chromated copper arsenate (CCA) was widely used to build decks and porches prior to being discontinued for residential use in 2004. Copper, chromium and arsenic – the chemicals that make up CCA – are all potentially dangerous. In fact, researchers have measured the soil beneath CCA-treated decks and found that the concentration of arsenic was more than seven times the level allowed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
CCA-treated wood typically has a greenish tint due to the copper content and is resistant to mold and termites. Because it has a long lifespan, many homes still have porches or decks made with it. CCA was also used to construct basement walls in some areas of the country.
If you suspect that you have CCA-treated wood in or around your home, you may wish to replace it with wood treated with other, less harmful chemicals like copper azone (CA) or water-soluble boron compounds.