People use the best materials available to do their jobs. The United States Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, monitors many of these materials to make sure they’re not negatively affecting the environment. Sometimes, the EPA allows industries to use potentially dangerous materials because they are the best options for completing necessary jobs. Pentachlorophenol, or PCP, is one of the most popular industrial wood preservatives, but it is potentially dangerous. Thankfully, the EPA has discovered alternatives that are less dangerous. Therefore, they are phasing out this preservative in favor of those alternatives. Keep reading to learn what you should know about the EPA pentachlorophenol phaseout.
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What Is PCP?
PCP is a restricted-use pesticide that only certified pesticide applicators can apply. The application process involves pressure and high temperatures in specialized cylinders. As with all pesticides, the point of this chemical is to control problems such as pests and weeds. When working with wood products, some companies use laser incising to improve the flow of preserving pesticides—like PCP—into the wood grain. The use of lasers in wood preservation is one of the many interesting things you probably didn’t know about lasers.
How Is PCP Dangerous?
Whether you knew about laser incising or not, you’ve probably heard little about the dangers of preserving pesticides. PCP specifically can cause short-term health problems, such as nose and throat irritation, coughing, wheezing, headache, sweating, weakness, and breathing problems. Long term, PCP can cause cancer and damage the liver and kidneys.
Who Will Start Phasing Out PCP First?
Since PCP can cause such serious short- and long-term health problems, the EPA is phasing out its use in many industries. The EPA announced the phaseout in February of 2022; now that over a year has passed, the agency continues to phase out this dangerous preservative. Wood treatment facilities are first on the phaseout list, although they can use their existing PCP stock until February 2027.
What Should You Do With PCP-Treated Products?
It is illegal to use PCP-treated wood in residential settings, but your industrial site or business property may have PCP-treated wood around. If you need to dispose of this product, you should do so according to your local and state waste management laws. Some areas consider this wood hazardous, while others do not. Hazardous materials fall under four types of listed waste, and wood preservation waste belongs on the F-List. Partner with a trusted waste management company that understands local laws so you can dispose of these potentially hazardous materials properly. There is a lot to know about the EPA pentachlorophenol phaseout, even though a year has already passed since the announcement. Keep your business up to date with Environmental Protection Agency announcements in case additional preservative and pesticide phaseouts affect your work and waste management procedures.