Fact Sheet:

Arsenic Treated Wood


Maine CDC


Environmental and


Occupational Health Program

Department of Health and

Toll Free in Maine: 866-292-3474

Human Services

Fax: 207-287-3981

11 State House Station

TTY: 207-287-8066

Augusta, ME 04333

Email: ehu@maine.gov


NEVER burn CCA wood.

Wear gloves when handling CCA wood

Wear a dust mask when sanding or cutting CCA wood

Don’t work with CCA wood in an enclosed area (like a garage)

Apply a coating to seal the wood every 1-2 years


Eric Frohmberg Environmental and Occupational Health Program

Maine CDC

Toll-free in Maine 866- 292-3474

TTY: 207-287-8066 www.maine.gov/dhhs/ eohp

Does Your New Home Have Arsenic (CCA) Treated Wood?

About half of all Maine homes have a deck, or playground or some other structure that is made of wood treated with arsenic. This wood is called “CCA pressure-treated wood” or just “pressure-treated” wood. The wood was treated with arsenic to protect against rot and insects.

Too much arsenic can cause cancer. So it is good to prevent arsenic getting into your body when you can. When you touch wood treated with arsenic, you can get arsenic on your hands. The arsenic on your hands can get into your mouth if you are not careful about washing be- fore eating. Young children are most at risk be- cause they are more likely to put their hands in their mouths. The good news is that there are simple things you can do to protect yourself and your family from arsenic treated wood. This fact sheet will tell you how.

Children touching unsealed treated wood, and then putting their hands in their mouths is the biggest concern.

First: Does your house have arsenic treated (CCA) wood?

When arsenic treated wood is new, it tends to have a greenish tint. When CCA wood is older, it is harder to tell. Ask your realtor if the seller knows whether CCA wood was used. You can also test the wood to find out if it contains arsenic. Call us to find out how.

Second: If so, reduce contact with the arsenic.

You can lower the amount of arsenic on the surface of the wood by applying a coating on the wood every 1-2 years. Oil-based sealants, varnishes, or polyurethane work best for sealing arsenic in the wood. Be sure to wash your children’s hands when they finish playing on or near CCA wood.

Third: If you have any questions, call us toll-free in Maine: 866-292-3474

Common Questions

What is CCA wood?

CCA wood is made by dipping the wood in a mixture of chemicals. These chemicals include chromium, copper, and arsenic. This protects the wood against insects and rot. This wood is known as CCA wood or “pressure treated” wood. Most pressure treated wood in the U.S. is CCA wood. After December 31, 2003, no more CCA wood will be made for use around homes. CCA wood may still be sold for home use until April 1, 2004 in the state of Maine.

What is Arsenic?

Arsenic is found in soil and rocks. Most people get a little arsenic every day from the food they eat. Also, some people have arsenic in their private wells, which is why it is important that anyone with a well have it tested for arsenic. People who are exposed to too much arsenic over many years are more likely to get cancer.