Children's Exposure to Arsenic from CCA-Treated Wooden Decks and Playground Structures

Harold F. Hemond, Helena M. Solo-Gabriele

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


CCA-treated wood is widely used in the fabrication of outdoor decks and playground equipment. Because arsenic can be removed from the surface of CCA-treated wood both by physical contact and by leaching, it is important to determine whether children who play on such structures may ingest arsenic in quantities sufficient to be of public health concern. Based on a review of existing studies, it is estimated that arsenic doses in amounts of tens of micrograms per day may be incurred by children having realistic levels of exposure to CCA-treated decks and playground structures. The most important exposure pathway appears to be oral ingestion of arsenic that is first dislodged from the wood by direct hand contact, then transferred to the mouth by children's hand-to-mouth activity. The next most important pathway appears to be dermal absorption of arsenic, while ingestion of soil that has become contaminated by leaching from CCA-treated structures appears to be of lesser importance, except possibly in the case of children with pica. Considerable uncertainty, however, is associated with quantitative estimates of children's arsenic exposure from CCA-treated wood. Priorities for refining estimates of arsenic dose include detailed studies of the hand-to-mouth transfer of arsenic, studies of the dermal and gastrointestinal absorption of dislodgeable arsenic, and studies in which doses of arsenic to children playing in contact with CCA-treated wood are directly determined by measurement of arsenic in their urine, hair, and nails.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-64
Number of pages14
JournalRisk Analysis
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2004


  • Arsenic
  • CCA
  • Decks
  • Playgrounds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality


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