Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


A legacy of CCA-contaminated sites

A legacy of CCA-contaminated sites

Significant risks to the environment, and indirectly to humans, are being posed by chromated copper arsenate (CCA) timber treatment sites, Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons warned today.

This is in addition to the risks posed by direct human contact with CCA-treated timber, especially in children's playgrounds, house balconies and outdoor furniture.

Ms Fitzsimons said the toxicity of CCA had been known for many years. "Arsenic, copper and chromium are heavy metals that never break down in the environment," she said.

"Timber is impregnated with CCA in a pressure vessel. In the past, these have frequently blown out and dumped their contents into the environment. Stacks of treated timber drying outside also dripped CCA on to the ground and rain washed off more. These processes have caused very high soil concentrations of CCA in some places, creating contaminated sites. These are a shocking legacy for future generations," Ms Fitzsimons said.

Often these sites were located near the coast, and CCA could contaminate coastal waters and fisheries. Practices have improved over the past decade, but the code of practice and guidelines are still voluntary. All operators should be brought up to the same best practice standard, Ms Fitzsimons said.

"There is also the question of disposing of unwanted treated timber. Offcuts from construction are sometimes burned in domestic fires, leading to arsenic in the air and in the ash, which is often put on gardens. Old fence posts and CCA-treated timber from demolitions are also an environmental hazard if they are burned."

Reports that the Building Industry Authority was considering making timber treated to H3-level mandatory for house framing were very worrying, Ms Fitzsimons said.

"H3 is usually (though not always) CCA-treated, unlike H1 which was used in the past. H1 is treated with much less-toxic boron. The risk of H3 in house framing is not to the inhabitants, as the timber will not be exposed, but in expanding the total use of CCA and therefore the risks to the environment and people who are indirectly contaminated by the treatment sites," Ms Fitzsimons said.

"H3 treatment of framing would also not solve the leaky houses problem - it's small comfort to have your framing still sound if your carpets are rotting, your ceilings and wall linings are sagging and your furnishings are growing mould."

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Also, Loan Interest: Productivity Commission On Tertiary Education

Key recommendations include better quality control; making it easier for students to transfer between courses; abolishing University Entrance; enabling tertiary institutions to own and control their assets; making it easier for new providers to enter the system; and facilitating more and faster innovation by tertiary education providers... More>>


Higher Payments: Wellington Regional Council Becomes A Living Wage Employer

Councillor Sue Kedgley said she was delighted that the Wellington Regional Council unanimously adopted her motion to become a Living Wage employer, making it the first regional council in New Zealand to do so. More>>


Scoop Images:
Dame Patsy Reddy Sworn In As Governor-General

This morning Dame Patsy Reddy was sworn in as the New Zealand Realm’s 21st Governor-General. The ceremony began with a pōwhiri to welcome Dame Patsy and her husband Sir David Gascoigne to Parliament. More>>


Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>


With NZ's Marama Davidson: Women’s Flotilla Leaves Sicily – Heading For Gaza

Women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey yesterday on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>


Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news