Environmental and health hazards of chromated copper arsenate-treated wood: A review

Simone Morais, Henrique M.A.C. Fonseca, Sónia M.R. Oliveira, Helena Oliveira, Vivek Kumar Gupta, Bechan Sharma, Maria de Lourdes Pereira*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Copper chrome arsenate (CCA) water-borne solution used to be widely used to make timber highly resistant to pests and fungi, in particular, wood products designed for outdoor use. Nowadays, CCA is a restricted chemical product in most countries, since potential environmental and health risks were reported due to dermal contact with CCA residues from treated structures and the surrounding soil, as well as the contamination of soils. However, large quantities of CCA-treated timber are still in use in framings, outdoor playground equipment, landscaping, building poles, jetty piles, and fencing structures around the world, thus CCA remains a source of pollutants to the environment and of increasing toxic metal/metalloid exposure (mainly in children). International efforts have been dedicated to the treatment of materials impregnated with CCA, however not only does some reuse of CCA-treated timber still occur, but also existing structures are leaking the toxic compounds into the environment, with impacts on the environment and animal and human health. This study highlights CCA mechanisms and the documented consequences in vivo of its exposure, as well as the adverse environmental and health impacts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5518
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021


  • Arsenic
  • CCA-treated wood
  • Chromated copper arsenate
  • Chromium
  • Copper


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