N.Y. Governor Signs Bill to Partially Ban Wood Preservative

On July 26, Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D) announced that he has signed legislation that will partially end the manufacture, sale and use of creosote in New York state.

Creosote is the name used for a variety of products that are mixtures of many chemicals derived by high temperature treatment of coal, tar or wood. It is used in various industrial applications to preserve wood and prevent insect infestation. EPA in 1995 classified creosote as a probable human carcinogen. the governor's office stated. The federal agency also classifies it as a hazardous waste. It is also known to cause an array of worker health problems after direct and extended exposure. These problems can include skin rash and irritation, eye irritation and injury, and respiratory distress. These problems are exacerbated during the summer months when high temperatures accentuate creosote fumes and limit the ability of workers to wear heavy, protective clothing for long periods of time.

"This is a law that will protect the environment, and help ensure that workers will be protected from the harsh effects of this dangerous chemical," Spitzer said. "I am pleased that we were able to achieve a sensible, workable bill that provides long-needed protections while not hampering business needs."

This bill provides for the phasing-out of the manufacture, sale and use of creosote in New York after Jan. 1, 2008, and after Jan. 1, 2010 for existing marinas and other facilities used for the berthing, mooring and storage of vessels.

For more information, contact the governor's office at http://www.ny.gov/governor.

This article originally appeared in the 07/01/2007 issue of Environmental Protection.

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