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She Dances - lyrics by Deborah Barrie with performance and music by Dennis Aubrey

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Petition against Single-Use Plastic Shopping Bags

This petition is being offered in honour of the Town of Leaf Rapids in the Churchill riding which banned single-use plastic shopping bags in their community.  This ambitious move was the first of its kind in North America.  Now it is a regular part of life in this northern town that people utilize reusable bags.  This ban has been in place for over a year now.  In honour of the petition, Canadian photographer Joseph Murray has provided a visual, and Canadian poet Robert Priest has written a poem.

ACCA Ban Petition, Petition HP 01-3@

The government in the United States and Canada reviewed the safety of the chromated copper arsenate (CCA) treated wood in 2002. Industry, which promised in 1984 in the States, to warn consumers about the dangers and did not, was given another chance. Instead of banning this wood the EPA and the PMRA are phasing it out. They allowed companies to continue to manufacture it and sell their remaining stocks until December 31 2003. After that date it was no longer allowed to be used in residential use, boardwalks, fences or play ground equipment. Industrial use will still be allowed, leaving carpenters, linemen and the environment at risk. See government link at bottom of page for restrictions and allowable uses.

There has been no action by governments to address the existing CCA structures even though the Consumer Product Safety Commission ( CPSC )found a significant increased cancer risk to children from playing on CCA treated playground equipment. They reached this conclusion after meeting up with scientists and industry representatives in Florida shocking those not aware of the consequences and the liability a ban would have brought.
They stated that seeing a phase-out was in place there was no reason to address the issue. We should all question such reasoning skills.

I believe every home should be sent a warning of the possible dangers and symptoms of arsenic poisoning along with an explanation of how difficult it is to diagnose. Arsenic poisoning in acute cases can only be found in the urine for about three days. After that time ¾ of each dose taken in will have left the body and the remaining ¼ will accumulate in the blood, bones and tissue. It is this “silent” amount that we need to be very concerned about. Arsenic can be found in the blood for only a number of hours after exposure and low level long term poisoning will not likely show up at all but can cause serious health consequences such as stroke, heart attack, cancer, diabetes and on and on. Many people have been given false assurances from Health professionals who did not understand or were too happy to avoid panic in dealing with the issue.

Please see the Agency for Toxic substances and disease registry for more information on arsenic poisoning

You can read about case study by going to this link
and registering and entering “Arsenic in a Child's World” in the search engine

People should also be made aware of where they can get their soil and wood tested for contamination locally. Soil should only be tested in the top two inches under a vertical board or underneath a structure or a wipe test of the wood should be preformed.. Arsenic does not move down in the soil beyond the first few inches without help such as foot traffic or raking so many people have been given false assurances by tests done at an improper level. Tests for in ground contamination from natural sources should be done differently.

Of note here is that people are often mislead by statements that arsenic is naturally found in soil. While this may be true that is a form called organic arsenic and inorganic arsenic is found in CCA treated wood. This form is more dangerous and is absorbed through the skin (trans-dermal) as well as taken in from hand to mouth contact.

Here is what the Canadian government had to say about arsenic

- in 1993 Environment and Health & Welfare Canada stated that arsenic is a "non-threshold toxicant" (i.e., a substance for which there is believed to be some chance of adverse health effects at any level of exposure) (Environment Canada, 1993; ref. Amdur et al., 1991;)

Here is what the American government had to say about arsenic
Federal Register: June 22, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 121)]
Arsenic and Clarifications to Compliance and New Source Contaminants Monitoring; Proposed Rule

1. Summary of Regulation

EPA is proposing an arsenic regulation for community water systems, which are systems that provide piped water to at least fifteen service
connections used by year-round residents or regularly serves at least twenty-five year-round residents. This proposal will require non-
transient, non-community water systems (NTNCWS) to monitor for arsenic and report exceedances of the MCL. The proposed health-based, non-enforceable goal, or Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG), is zero, based on EPA's revised risk characterization.

While arsenic never breaks down into a safe form it does have the ability to change forms. It can turn into a gas through burning or a chemical reaction with some molds, zinc, aluminum and acid bases. Anything acidic can cause arsenic to leach so one must never use acid based washes, paints, fertilizers, mulches, etc near or on CCA treated wood. Arsine gas can also turn back into a solid form as it did on the outside our home which was exposed to the smoke from a neighbor burning treated wood. Arsenic can be drawn up by plants, leached out into soil and water and be off-gassed from the compost action of the wood breaking down in landfill sites. Acid rain can cause CCA wood to off-gas and anything alkaline can cause the hexavalent chromium to leach.

Sealing the wood can prevent much of the leaching but will not address in-ground contamination, splinters or even the safety of the sealing agents. There have been no tests done on the safety of sealers to human health and the synergism of these chemicals have not been studied. Most sealers also requiring sanding or power washing which can break the bond with the metals and cause metal contamination. Suggesting people seal treated wood, I believe, is a measure to promote false security while governments, scientists and industry try and figure out what to do with the vast waste product that a ban would cause.

My advice is to avoid contact with the wood. Close windows that open to an area where CCA wood is during rain. Remove shoes on entering the home. Do not allow air intake pipes to be placed near or under a CCA wood structure. Do not store anything under a CCA structure and do not allow pets or children under structures. Removing CCA wood requires protection so follow safety rules if you are dismantling a structure.

The disposal of CCA wood is another serious issue. Millions of board feet are entering waste fill sites every year. It is often burned at waste disposal sites releasing very toxic trivalent arsenic and hexavalent chromium into the air. Old CCA wood is undistinguishable from old natural wood and is often burned in homes and campsites as scrap firewood, and mulched into wood chips for the garden. Studies have been done that show the metals when burned break down into particles so small that they are easily breathed in.

Scrap CCA wood is put into unlined landfills where it leaches into the ground and potentially into the water tables. Had this issue been addressed properly during the last review, we would be dealing with a far less serious problem. Imagine the board feet produced since then. While children continue to be contaminated playing on playground equipment made from this wood we are told to trust the industry to police itself. The industry has been aware of the health concerns of CCA wood since at least 1968 when workers became ill. This information was released in a trial in the 1980's of a man who bleed seven pints of blood after building picnics tables (I have the study done on him and a co-worker for anyone interested)

CCA wood can be described as a nightmare of a problem from cradle to grave with contamination of people and the environment at every step along the way. Check out the links before to see what some governments have done or are doing and realize it is not enough. We must demand action and protect our health and our environment from this dangerous product. In a single 12-foot, 2 by 6 piece of wood contains enough arsenic (one ounce), to kill two hundred and fifty people and it is leaching out.
Please take the time to protect your family and let your government representative know that this is an issue that needs immediate action.

Thank you for checking out my site and please keep safe.

Deborah Elaine Barrie

Also check out what the European Commission is doing on the CCA issue

Australia is also examining the issue

This site developed, hosted and maintained by InterPresence Development for Deborah Barrie.