Now out for consultation until 15 April, the proposals include a general ban on CCA impregnation from 1 October with some exemptions, including electricity pylons, telephone poles, safety fences and piers. Copper-based treatments without chrome and arsenic are to be temporarily exempted until satisfactory alternatives are available.
Allowing for the exempted uses, existing stocks of CCA-impregnated timber will continue to be sold, from registered warehouses only, until 1 July next year, but will have to be used before 1 September 2002. Dealers will be required to supply information on permitted uses and disposal arrangements for the products. Existing structures are not affected by the ban provided they are protected against seepage, "particularly...in kindergartens and playgrounds, where polluted sand and soil pose health risks".
SFT notes: "There is currently no satisfactory disposal [method for] waste containing CCA, and the heavy metals in such waste will sooner or later enter the environment." The agency says it is working on the problem and hopes to make some progress this year.
Assuming the same production of permitted CCA-impregnated structures as in 1998, SFT reckons the new legislation will reduce the use of CCA treatment by 93%. Increased sales of unimpregnated wood are expected to compensate for reduced turnover of CCA products.
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