Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA) was developed in the 1930s and first listed in the American Wood Protection Association (AWPA) Book of Standards in the early 1950s. The CCA wood preservative has been used to treat millions of utility poles for over 90 years.

CCA Performance Review

The well-known wood scientist, Mike Freeman, reviewed over 5 decades of performance testing in 20131. His review listed a number of studies, but the major ones showed:

  • a. An estimated service life of over 73 years for CCA-C treated wood posts in southern Mississippi treated to 17% more than the AWPA standard.
  • b. Wood test stakes treated at the standard CCA-C 0.60 pcf had no failures in 40 years in southern Mississippi. Service lives of 29 years were obtained for stakes treated to about 24% of the current standard (0.14 pcf vs. 0.60 pcf)
  • c. No posts treated to 0.40 CCA-C pcf have failed after 35 years of exposure in AWPA Decay Zone 5 (lower Gulf Coast where typically wood decay is most prevalent).

The collective use history of CCA treated poles meeting the AWPA Standards shows no widespread failures over the past 40+ years.

In the early 1990s, a number of oil-based climbing additives were introduced to address CCA pole climbing concerns. The climbing additives aid linemen gaff penetration and the subsequent use history of these treated wood utility poles also shows no failures due to termite or fungal decay attack.

CCA Environmental Registration

The labeling and use of CCA is regulated by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The CCA wood preservative is classified as a Restricted Use Pesticide and it’s permitted to treat wood products for use in utility, marine and agricultural applications. The EPA conducts periodic reviews on all registered wood preservative products, and the current approved uses of CCA treated wood, including utility poles and crossarms, are expected to remain unchanged for many years. This registration review is supported scientifically by a joint data development consortium managed by the American Chemistry Council.

CCA General Information

CCA treated wood utility poles are non-corrosive and non-conductive. There are currently three major North American wood preservative manufacturers of CCA, which includes Koppers. Koppers produces CCA wood preservative and climbing additives to aid gaff penetration. Most utility wood pole treatment companies offer poles treated with CCA.