Arsenic in urban atmosphere

A recent in depth study has found Arsenic in the air in the Victory air shed in Nelson are double health guidelines. The study “fingerprints” the particulate pollution to find out where it is coming from and it is coming from burning CCA treated wood.

The use of CCA -treated timber as fuel for domestic fires is probably widespread in New Zealand urban areas but only as and when waste timber is at hand. The data suggests that sufficient quantities are being burned to have an acute localised effect, but repeated exposure year to year during winter may also include a chronic exposure that is close to or exceeds ambient air quality guidelines at urban locations in New Zealand. The problem presents itself as one of enforcement of air quality regulations or a need for more extensive public education. A further issue is the disposal of the ash from domestic fires that is likely to be contaminated with residual arsenic, as well as copper and chromium. If this is used in gardens it may pose an addition exposure pathway through the ingestion of any vegetables grown in contaminated soils.

Ensure that no CCA treated wood off cuts are mixed with firewood

To view full study results follow this here.

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