Variation of arsenic concentration on surfaces of in-service CCA-treated wood planks in a park and its influencing field factors

Ya TANG, Wei GAO, Xiuli WANG, Shiming DING, Taicheng AN, Weiyang XIAO, Ming Har Ruth WONG, Chao Sheng ZHANG

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Abstract

Wood preservatives can protect wood from dry rot, fungi, mould and insect damage, and chromated copper arsenate (CCA) has been used as an inorganic preservative for many years. However, wood treated with CCA has been restricted from residential uses in the EU from June 30, 2004, due to its potential toxicity. Such a regulation is not in place in China yet, and CCA-treated wood is widely used in public parks. A portable XRF analyser was used to investigate arsenic (As) concentration on surfaces of in-service CCA-treated wood planks in a popular park as well as the influencing field factors of age in-service, immersion and human footfall. With a total of 1207 readings, the observed As concentrations varied from below the detection limit (<10 mg/kg) to 15,746 mg/kg with a median of 1160 mg/kg. Strong variation of As concentrations were observed in different wood planks of the same age, on the surface of the same piece of wood, inside the same piece of wood, and different surfaces of walkway planks, hand rails and poles in the field. The oldest planks exhibited high As concentrations, which was related to its original treatment with high retention of CCA preservative. The effect of immersion in the field for about 4 months was insignificant for As concentration on the surfaces. However, a significant reduction of As was observed for immersion combined with human footfall (wiping by shoes). Human traffic in general caused slightly reduced and more evenly distributed As concentrations on the wood surfaces. The strong variation, slow aging and relatively weak immersion effects found in this study demonstrate that the in-service CCA-treated wood poses potential health risks to the park users, due to easy dermal contact especially when the wood is wet after rainfall. It is suggested that further comprehensive investigations and risk assessments of CCA-treated wood in residential areas in China are needed, and precautionary measures should be considered to reduce the potential risks to residents and visitors, especially children. Copyright © 2014 Springer International Publishing Switzerland.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4214
JournalEnvironmental Monitoring and Assessment
Volume187
Issue number1
Early online dateDec 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015

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Citation

Tang, Y., Gao, W., Wang, X., Ding, S., An, T., Xiao, W. et al. (2015, January). Variation of arsenic concentration on surfaces of in-service CCA-treated wood planks in a park and its influencing field factors. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 187(1), Retrieved April 16, 2015, from http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10661-014-4214-7

Keywords

  • Chromated copper arsenate (CCA)
  • Arsenic
  • Wood
  • Portable XRF
  • Immersion
  • In-service