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Frequently Asked Questions


CCA (Copper Chromium Arsenate) is the longest serving and most recognised brand of timber treatment in many parts of the world.  It was developed in the 1930’s and some 80 years later, is still a widely used and reliable timber preservative for hard working outdoor applications.

CCA has been relied upon for generations to provide dependable protection for timber against decay, termites and wood boring insects in the most demanding outdoor and ground contact applications.  CCA is recommended particularly for high hazard situations where the treated structures must have the highest degree of durability and engineered safety. 

1.1 Where is it safe to use CCA?
1.2 Is arsenic in treated timber a health risk?
1.3 Do existing CCA treated wood structure need to be removed?
1.4 What are the recommended safety handling precautions?
1.5 How do I dispose of off-cuts and waste?

1.1 Where is it safe to use CCA?

CCA is an effective and safe option for many building and landscape applications.  CCA treated timber is safe to use in the following applications:-

  • Retaining walls
  • Garden beds / planter boxes 
  • Pergolas
  • Bollards & car park barriers
  • Domestic fence posts, railings & palings
  • Piling - Foundation and Marine 
  • Viticultural posts
  • House stumps
  • Farm fencing
  • Utility poles and crossarms
  • Building poles
  • Decking support posts...and many more  

1.2 Is arsenic in treated timber a health risk?

The APVMA confirms in its report that exposure to arsenic from treated timber is lower than that from many sources found in water and food.  Arsenic also occurs naturally in all soils.  Arsenic is the twentieth most common element in the earth’s crust and is present in very small quantities in almost everything we eat and drink.  The APVMA has calculated that our normal, daily dietary intake of arsenic is 4.5 times more than expected exposure through contact with CCA-treated timber surfaces.  Even when these two possible sources of arsenic are added together, the total is three times less than the daily allowable amounts set by the World Health Organisation. 


1.3 Do existing CCA treated wood structure need to be removed?

Regulatory government bodies are not requiring a removal or dismantling of existing structures.  It is, however, recommended that householders apply a sealant or penetrating surface coating to existing CCA treated structures that have frequent human contact.  

1.4 What are the recommended safety handling precautions?

The following health and safety practices are recommended for both treated and untreated timber:-

  • Do not allow wood dust to accumulate and keep work area clean.
  • Wear a filter mask and eye protection to avoid inhalation of sawdust.
  • Wear gloves when handling the material.


1.5 How do I dispose of off-cuts and waste?

CCA treated timber is not a hazardous waste.  


Disposal: Trade and domestic users should dispose of off-cuts and redundant pieces through normal waste collection services. Trade or industrial manufacturers generating larger volumes of treated wood waste may require approval from their local waste services authority or council. Do not use for composting or mulching. Do not burn as a means of disposal.


2. Safe Handling of Treated Timber

Consumer & Safety Information

Koppers treated wood products are protected against decay and termites by impregnation with Australian Pesticides & Veterinary Medicines Authority approved wood preservatives. Treated wood is safe to use providing that common sense precautions and handling guidelines are followed. This information is provided in the interest of consumer safety and for appropriate use of the product.


  • Only use Koppers treated wood that is clean, dry and free of surface residues.
  • Avoid inhaling wood dust and wear a filter mask while power sawing, machining, sanding or any operation where wood dust is generated.
  • Protect the eyes while using power tools or any work where small particles may be ejected.
  • Wear gloves when handling the material, and wash hands after work and before eating, drinking or smoking.
  • Brush or wash sawdust off skin or clothes.
  • Keep the work area clean. Do not allow wood dust to accumulate. Wherever possible, recover sawdust, shavings and off-cuts for proper disposal.
  • Wash wood dust contaminated work clothing and safety equipment before reuse.
  • DO NOT BURN off-cuts or waste pieces. Burning may produce toxic fumes and residues.

Get the best results from outdoor treated wood projects

Koppers treated wood products are durable and versatile building materials. The following tips will help you get the best results with your treated wood project.

  • Make sure that the timber is treated to the corrrect hazard level for your application. The most common situations are:
    • H3 for above ground such as decking and pergolas
    • H4 for ground contact such as landscaping and fence posts
    • H5 for structural application in ground contact such as house poles, engineered retaining walls, or for timber that will be in permanent fresh water contact.
  • All end cuts, rebates, drill holes and notches should be resealed with an approved timber protective.
  • It is strongly recommended that all dimensioned (sawn) timber products in outdoor situations are painted, stained or sealed for best performance and prevention of discolouration, mould and dimensional distortion.
  • Use hot dipped galvanised steel, stainless steel or other metal fasteners of high corrosion resistance for all exterior timber applications.

You will never regret the small additional cost of taking these steps when you appreciate the long term benefits of durable outdoor structures using Koppers treated timber.



2007 Koppers Wood Products Pty Limited

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