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Alternatives

Chromated copper arsenate (CCA) is a popular wood preserving chemical, replacing creosote and pentachlorophenol, two previously popular wood preservatives. CCA consists of chromium (a bactericide), copper (a fungicide) and arsenic (an insecticide) and is one of the chemical compounds used to produce what is commonly called pressure-treated wood. This wood is used for decks, fences, boat docks, playground equipment, utility posts, wherever wood must be protected from decay. In an effort to reduce their use of both arsenic and chromium, some European companies have developed alternatives. These include copper acetate, copper carbonate, copper citrate, cupric oxide and zinc chloride. A consumer can avoid the use of pressure-treated wood by choosing steel, plastic, concrete or aluminum depending on the application. However these materials have their own environmental and/or energy use concerns.