DENR orders phaseout of arsenic

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The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has moved to eliminate the use of arsenic in products, including as a pesticide and preservative for wood products, with the issuance of a Chemical Control Order (CCO) for arsenic and arsenic compounds.

ARSENIC DANGER Exposure to arsenic can result in a disease called arsenicosis, the symptoms of which include painful skin sores on the hands and feet. PHOTO: NGO FORUM FOR PUBLIC HEALTH

The CCO, which was developed and recommended for implementation by the Environmental Management Board (EMB) of the DENR, prohibits the use of arsenic and arsenic compounds for fertilizers; pesticides; wood treatment and preservation products; toys, school supplies, and cosmetics; and commercial pigments and paints.

The order has immediate effect, with the exception of an extended phase-out period for arsenic compounds used as pesticides in wood products, and those arsenic compounds already approved by the Fertilizers and Pesticides Authority (FPA) that are specifically used as wood treatments.

The deadline for elimination of arsenic compounds is three years for architectural, decorative, and household applications and six year for industrial applications.


The EMB explained that the extended deadline was to give manufacturers and distributors enough time to produce alternative products, and pointed out that tighter import and licensing restrictions on arsenic and arsenic compounds would go into effect immediately.

Under the CCO, all Priority Chemical List exemptions for importers or suppliers for arsenic compounds in any concentration are revoked, and must be reapplied for.

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