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Reasons why the arsenic in the CCA pressure-treated wood proposed to be used in the wooden housing for the Pickman Park mailboxes is a concern:
The wooden housing proposed for the new Pickman Park mailboxes  is being built from CCA pressure-treated wood, which generally contains arsenic.  Even President Bush's EPA has decided to stop the sale of CCA pressure-treated wood after Dec. 31, 2003  because of the documented carcinogenic effects in humans of arsenic (although they are allowing the pressure-treated wood already made to be sold, since they don't want to deprive any business of its profits). (A good source of documentation for these statements may be found at http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/factsheets/cca_transition.htm ).
   Because information posted at other web sites may be removed or moved and become inaccessible at a later time, please find below a summary of the information posted at the EPA and other web sites.
   The EPA writes on the previously cited web site and elsewhere "Arsenic is a known human carcinogen and, thus, the Agency believes that any reduction in the levels of potential exposure to arsenic is desirable. EPA believes that the voluntary transition to non-arsenical containing wood preservatives for residential sites is a responsible action by the registrants. ... Published results of scientific studies suggest that arsenic, over time, slowly leaches from CCA-treated wood products. ... Some studies suggest that applying certain penetrating coatings (e.g., oil-based, semi-transparent stains) on a regular basis (e.g., once per year or every other year depending upon wear and weathering) may reduce the migration of wood preservative chemicals from CCA-treated wood."  The Pickman Park Board has not yet budgeted any money for restaining the wooden housing for the mailboxes every year or two. The EPA also suggests "Untreated wood (e.g., cedar and redwood) and nonwood alternatives, such as plastics, metal, and composite materials, are available." It seems to me following this suggestion is the responsible thing to do, especially since the EPA says on its web site at http://www.epa.gov/fedrgstr/EPA-PEST/2002/February/Day-22/p4306.htm , "All distribution, sale, and use of existing stocks of affected manufacturing-use and end-use products will be unlawful under FIFRA effective December 31, 2003," (where FIFRA is the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act" and the affected end-use products referred to are "CCA Type C 50% Chromated Copper Arsenate" and other similar wood preservatives. Also, the EPA says, "As of January 1, 2004, EPA will not allow CCA products to be used to treat wood intended for most residential settings."

Other links of interest:
EPA Administrator Whitman's press release about pressure treated wood  which states, "Now consumers will understand that this treated wood contains arsenic".
Note:  To view or print out pdf files, you may need the Adobe Acrobat reader, which you may download for free if you don't have it yet by clicking  here.

Boston Globe article about Haverhill's reaction on learning about the use of pressure treated wood  (in pdf format)
Note:  To view or print out pdf files, you may need the Adobe Acrobat reader, which you may download for free if you don't have it yet by clicking  here.

North Shore Sunday article about the liability risks of using pressure treated wood  (in pdf format)

EPA notice about pressure-treated wood

Arsenic pressure-treated wood according to the EPA

Please note:  The EPA does not at this time recommend removing or replacing CCA-treated structures, including decks.  When such structures are removed without proper care, an enhanced chance of exposure to the arsenic in the pressure treated wood occurs (such as when the wood is sawed in order to remove it and sawdust is released).  The EPA says, "Some studies suggest that applying certain penetrating coatings (e.g., oil-based, semi-transparent stains) on a regular basis (e.g., once per year or every other year depending upon wear and weathering) may reduce the migration of wood preservative chemicals from CCA-treated wood."  Hence, it seems irresponsible to build new CCA-pressure treated structures (such as mailbox housings) now, especially when cluster mailboxes without $20,000 of wooden housing (like the one near 38 Atlantic Avenue & Rolleston Road in Marblehead) are good enough for people in Marblehead.  The question arises as to why such a cluster mailbox isn't it good enough for us in Salem..

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