Green group wants DENR to ban arsenic in wood treatment

Mar. 01, 2017

DAVAO CITY, Philippines—The EcoWaste Coalition urged Monday the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to permanently ban the use of arsenic, a known carcinogen, for the treatment and preservation of wood.

In a statement Wednesday, Eileen B. Sison, president of the EcoWaste Coalition, said that with DENR’s issuance of chemical control order, “it should strengthen the proposed regulation on toxic inorganic arsenic.”

“We support the issuance of the said CCO and specifically support the ban on arsenic and arsenic compounds in the manufacturing of fertilizers, pesticides, wood treatment and preservation products, commercial pigments and paints, toys, school supplies and cosmetics,” Sison said.

She added that the policy would eventually regulate and permanently ban the arsenic compound since “these chemicals pose serious risks to public health and the environment.” 

The EcoWaste Coalition asked DENR to implement “a more stringent short-term exposure limit to protect workers’ health and the removal of the exemption on the use of arsenic for pesticides used in the treatment of wood.”

According to the Toxicology Data Network, the chromated copper arsenate is used in pressure treated wood to protect it from rotting due to insects and microbial agents.

In ​the ​​US, effective December 31, 2003, no wood treater or manufacturer may treat wood with CCA for residential uses, with certain exceptions, according to the group.

The World Health Organization also said that the long exposure of the toxic inorganic arsenic could lead to chronic arsenic poisoning or arsenicosis.”

“Effects, which can take years to develop depending on the level of exposure, include skin lesions, peripheral neuropathy, gastrointestinal symptoms, diabetes, renal system effects, cardiovascular disease and cancer,” the WHO said, adding that it listed arsenic among the “ten chemicals of major public health concern.”

For EcoWaste Coalition, the CCO of the government could set an appropriate phase-out timeline and encourage the market to look for safer alternatives.

“The current draft of the CCO would allow the use for three years of arsenic-containing wood treatment and preservation products for architectural, decorative and household uses and six years for industrial uses,” the group said. (

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