Latest News: There is currently a review/new regulations being brought in , in Australia, regarding the use of CCA, labeling of timber treated with CCA, and restrictions on the use of CCA treated timber.

It is strongly recommended that members who export to Australia who will be impacted by the changes , refer to the following – the Australian Pesticide & Vetenary Medicines Authority, they regulate/license use of chemicals etc and are the lead agency in this matter a University of Wollongong web site that is a good overview of the current situation re use of CCA. To view the executive summary click here.

For those interested, there is a one day seminar in Sydney on 23-6-05, re the changes. Osmose Australia is one of the sponsors.

Details from FIA or direct FORESTS & TIMBER

PNG Situation: CCA stands for Copper Chrome Arsenic. The copper in this treatments acts as a fungicide whilst the arsenic acts as an insecticide. What makes this treatment potentially hazardous to humans and the environment is the arsenic. According to a number of studies undertaken in US, Europe and Australia, arsenic leaches out of CCA-treated timber over time, accumulating on the surface of CCA- treated timber and in the surrounding soil which can eventually travel down to ground water and/or be washed into downstream rivers and creeks. Paints and sealants can be used to contain the arsenic within the timber but this is only a short-term measure, typically lasting for only 6 months. In short, issues arising from CCA treated timber are as follows:

  • Accumulation of arsenic on the treated timber’s surface, directly exposing humans to arsenic.
  • Accumulation of arsenic in surrounding soils, thus contaminating soils and increasing the risk of arsenic — uptake by plants.
  • Arsenic leaching into ground water and downstream waterways, which can lead to plants and animal-uptake of arsenic; and
  • Because of the potential hazards of CCA, it is advised that CCA- treated timber be properly disposed of within a lined landfill. The timber should not be recycled, burned or mulched. This may be problematic in the more remote parts of PNG where properly constructed and lined landfills may not exist!!!!

ACQ stands for Alkaline Copper Quaternary. The copper is used as a fungicide; the quaternary ammonium as a pesticide for termites and wood boring insects. The important feature of this treatment is that it contains no arsenic, and it therefore does not pose the same environmental risks and hazards as CCA does. ACQ is being increasingly used as an alternative to CCA in countries such as Germany, Switzerland, Australia and the US where CCA is either tightly regulated banned or being phased out.

Further information can be sought from:

The Executive Officer
Forest Industries Association
P.O. Box 229,
Waigani NCD
Papua New Guinea

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