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Inquiry sought into tin-based timber treatment

Bob Clarkson MP
National Party Associate Building Spokesman

9 November 2007

Inquiry sought into tin-based timber treatment

National has called for an inquiry into the health and environmental risks of tin-based timber treatment chemicals in response to widespread complaints from builders.

“Builders are coughing up blood, suffering nose bleeds, headaches, and nasty rashes as a result of using timber treated with this tin chemical.

“I am disturbed that this chemical treatment is banned by the Environmental Protection Agency in the United States but allowed in New Zealand despite there being quite sensible alternatives.

“We want safe and proper timber treatment that will ensure houses don’t rot, however we don’t want our builders to have serious health problems.”

The cause of concern is for H3.1 timber treated with Tributyltin Naphthenate (TBTN). The less toxic, but more expensive alternative treatment is Azole.

“Labour has contributed to the problem with confused regulations around what type of treated timber has to be used in different parts of buildings. This has resulted in builders using the H3.1 timber more often than necessary.

“The Master Builders Federation has already called for action on this issue.

“I have written to the Environmental Risk Management Authority seeking a reassessment of this treatment as an approved hazardous substance.

“I have also written to the Department of Building and Housing and the Department of Labour’s Occupational Safety and Health Service.”


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