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Hedstrom Discontinues Use of CCA-Treated Wood in Gym Sets

Toy Manufacturer Provides Alternative in Response to Public Concerns Regarding CCA-Treated Playground Equipment

Feb 14, 2003 | PR Newswire Hedstrom Corporation, one of the nation's premier manufacturers and marketers of children's toy and outdoor recreation products, announces that in November 2002, its Canadian manufacturing facility discontinued shipments of chromated copper arsenate (CCA) pressure-treated wood gym sets into the United States, as a response to public concerns.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety commission (CPSC) suggests that some children could be at an increased risk of developing cancer over their lifetime, as a result of using playground equipment made with CCA pressure- treated wood.

The CPSC noted this risk is primarily due to exposure to arsenic residue on children's hands followed by hand-to-mouth contact. The CPSC statement also mentions air, soil, water and in some foods as sources of arsenic, the potentially harmful component of CCA. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently conducting this study of risks possibly tied to CCA-treated wood, with findings to be reported later this year.

Although no evidence directly links a cancer case with playground equipment constructed from CCA-treated wood, Hedstrom is responding to the potential that there could be a health risk. As of January 2003, Hedstrom wood gym sets have been constructed with ammonium copper quaternaray (ACQ) treated wood, an effective, CCA-free alternative.

"Hedstrom maintains its focus on the safety and quality of its play products, so our decision to end all usage of CCA-treated wood with our gym sets, even based solely on possibilities, was a natural conclusion," said Mike Johnston, Hedstrom president and CEO. "However, while the CPSC's preliminary findings certainly could raise potential for concern, consumers should be aware that imminent danger is not likely and that precautions can be made in order to reduce risk."

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