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In a study by Henry A. Peters, MD; William A. Croft, DVM, Phd; Edwin A. Woolson, Phd; Barbara A Darcey; and Margaret A Olsen, we are given the facts of a case study of two individuals who were working with pressure treated wood. Here is a summary of these cases.
"In February and March 1983, a man and a woman began construction of picnic tables for the Forestry Service using freshly treated CCA lumber. A radial arm band saw, drill press, and hand drill were used to produce 30 picnic tables. The air in the small non-ventilated room, heated with an overhead space heater, was often so full of sawdust that the garage door had to be opened frequently to clear the air. Sawing this recently treated wood produced sufficient liquid to splash back to a wall 2 ½ feet away and contaminate the clothing. No protective clothing or mask was worn. Within several days both workers began to experience spontaneous nose bleeds, heaviness of the chest, itching and burning of the skin, stomach-ache, and the woman noted that hair pulled out when combed. They also noted alterations in memory, darkening of the urine, and the male worker suffered from severe tarry stools and then massive melena requiring hospitalization and 7 units of blood. Though most symptoms disappeared after three months, when the same two workers resumed the same task a year later, there was an immediate recurrence of symptoms including a repeat massive gastrointestinal bleed from esophageal varices in the male worker. It seems apparent that working with CCA-treated lumber with power equipment in an enclosed area poses a very severe health hazard."11
These case studies plus the case studies done on a Wisconsin family (another study by Peters and his team which is found under problems presented by wood ash) show another point in determining arsenic poisoning. While hair samples were taken from these people, nail testing showed dramatically higher arsenic concentrations than the hair samples showed.
In an article published by Weather-Bos it appears the above male worker is referred to and I quote "In one case James Sipes, a U.S. Forest Service worker in the Hoosier National Forest in Indiana was sawing CCA-treated wood to build picnic tables one spring when he got so sick that he vomited up half the blood in his body. Doctors didn't identify the cause of his problem until he went back to work. The next spring he was given the same job and he started vomiting blood again. A jury said the chemicals in the wood caused the problems and awarded him $1,000,000. Twenty-six companies involved with the production and supply of the chemicals and wood settled out of court, paying Sipes $667,200.
"The problem with CCA exposure is that you can't show a history, you could have people getting ill and thinking it's any number of things, arthritis, the flu," said David McCray, an Indiana lawyer who has won three claims involving injuries from CCA -treated wood."
This article also refers to a story where, "three quarter horses in Clay County, Florida fell ill after "cribbing" or biting repeatedly on a pressure treated wood fence. Two died."2
In the article titled, Arsenic and Old Wood we are told the story of Rick
Feutz. " When he built a swimming dock off his beach on Steel Lake near
Seattle, schoolteacher Rick Feutz thought he used the perfect wood, pressure
treated. " The brochure said it was impervious to rot," says Feutz,
who brought home a pickup load. But while cutting the wood, Feutz, then 38,
felt his legs aching and thought, "My God, I'm getting old." Soon
his hands and feet began to tingle " like they were going to sleep."
By the time he finished the job two weeks later, his legs were numb. He collapsed
just hours after putting the dock in the water. For three months, he remained
partially paralyzed with no sense of feeling in his limbs. Doctors suspected
a rare nervous disorder until a series of white half-moon marks appeared on
his fingernails, a sign of arsenic poisoning, as is numbness. After tests at
the University of Washington found a high level of arsenic in his body, doctors
concluded that he must have been poisoned by contact with treated wood. No one
else in his family became ill. 'We never heard of another case like this,"says
David Buschner, who treated Feutz at the Northwest Centre for Environmental
Medicine in Bellevue Washington. Feutz sued the lumber yard, wood preserver
and preservative manufacturer. They settled 1992-admitting no liability and
insisting the amounts be kept secret.1
A paper published by Health and Welfare Canada-Health Protection Branch-Issues-titled Pressure -Treated (Preserved) Wood and Wood Preservatives states, "on rare occasions, toxic effects of wood preservatives and pressure treated wood have been seen both in animals and people. The effects range from slight illnesses to deaths. Accidental illnesses or deaths were traced to improper or careless use of the preservative chemicals or treated wood in the workplace or in the home."12
For a final reference in this section I will quote from the report from the European Commission Health and Consumer Protection "the toxic end-points identified in the Report as the most sensitive ones on which to base human health risk assessment are a) lung cancer by inhalation and b) non-cancerous lesions by ingestion. Surprisingly, no mention is made of the well documented induction in humans of skin cancer (and possibly other cancers) after oral ingestion. For the assessment of cancer risk by inhalation, linear extrapolation with no threshold is accepted and the unit risk derived by World Health Organization (WHO, 1997) adopted. For exposure by the oral route, a total daily intake (TDI ) of 2 mcg/kg (WHO; 1989) is adopted for non- carcinogenic effects.
As elsewhere in the Report, "criteria" values developed by various
organizations are adopted without adequate justification, such as for example
an "environmental assessment level" for air 0.2 mcg/m3 (long term)
and 6mcg/m3 (short term) of the UK Environment Agency."7
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