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New Zealand ignoring growing CCA timber ban trend

17 March 2005

New Zealand ignoring growing CCA timber ban trend

A decision by Australian authorities to ban the use of treated pine in children’s play equipment, garden furniture, picnic tables and decking reinforces the Green Party’s view that New Zealand was wrong not to stop its use here.

Green Health Spokesperson Sue Kedgley is calling on the New Zealand government to follow the Australian ban.

Australia’s national agricultural chemical regulator the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) this week (March 15) decided that the use of treated pine in children’s play equipment, garden furniture, picnic tables and decking will be phased out over the next 12 months.

The decision was made after a review of treated timber by APVMA concluded that it could not be satisfied that there wasn’t a health risk for people, and particularly children, who had frequent and continuing exposure to treated timber products such as garden furniture, playground structures and decks.

“New Zealand must do the same,” Ms Kedgley said.

“It is extraordinary that ERMA undertook a similar review of treated timber in 2003 and reached the opposite conclusion: that there should not be restrictions on its use here.”

The Green Party has been calling on the Government to phase out the use of treated timber for several years and use alternatives, especially in children’s playgrounds and other areas where children can be exposed to the chemicals used to treat the timber.

“This is a classic example of ERMA New Zealand failing to take a precautionary approach and putting the interests of industry ahead of public health. The Read report on which ERMA based its conclusion actually said that, despite uncertainty of the cancer risk, it would be prudent public health policy to reduce public exposure to CCA and that alternative substances should be used in certain circumstances. ERMA chose to ignore this recommendation,” she said

“Now that Australia, Europe, the USA and Canada are all banning its use in recreational settings, surely it’s time New Zealand did the same. Or will we be one of the last places in the world to use it, as we were with 245T?”

ENDS

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