Toxic Playgrounds

Forts and castles made of arsenic-treated wood last for years, but should kids be playing on them?

If there's one thing wood knows how to do, it's rot. Expose lumber to the elements, and within as few as five years, sun, rain, termites and fungus can reduce it to pulp. That's why builders were so enthusiastic in the 1970s when the lumber industry introduced pressure-treated boards--ordinary planks and posts injected with an extraordinary preservative known as CCA that can extend the life of wood fivefold, eliminating repairs and saving millions of trees annually. What got less attention at the time is the fact that CCA stands for chromated copper arsenate--a form of arsenic. And that's turned out to...

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