A.John Wagner responds: In addition to copper, conventional CCA preservative contains chromium and arsenate, which the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has labeled "hazardous." Though these two toxins bind almost entirely with the wood, CCA’s manufacturing process creates several hazards. First, it’s dangerous to touch CCA residue (chemicals that have not become "fixed" in the wood during the treating process). It’s also dangerous to touch or breathe the sawdust. Many homeowners rightly wonder if CCA is safe for decks, playgrounds, and picnic tables, especially where children will have direct contact with the wood.

These fears and dangers inspired Chemical Specialties Inc. (CSI, One Woodlawn Green, Suite 250, Charlotte, NC 28217; 704/522-0825) to develop ACQ Preserve, a new product that has several preservative qualities identical to CCA, but that has a much lower toxicity, both during its manufacture and with its subsequent handling. ACQ uses a...

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