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The Safe Alternative

Chromated Copper Aresenate (CCA), a form of arsenic has received negative attention lately for its use in pressure-treated wood timbers on playgrounds. CCA has been used since the 1970s because it wards off rot, insects and fungi. Landscape Architects may want to look into play structures made of recycled plastic timbers to avoid the dangers of CCA.

Recently, pressure-treated wood timbers have received some negative publicity in the media because the material is injected with Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA) a form of arsenic.

Exposure to this pressure-treated timber can be harmful to children and adults. Skin contact with CCA treated wood as well as ingestion and inhalation is hazardous and currently, the toxic levels are unknown. CCA has been the additive used to pressure treat wood since the 1970s because it was found to be the most effective way to ward off rot, insects and fungi while significantly extending the life of the wood.

The Environmental Protection Agency is reviewing wood pressure-treated with CCA.

In response to this news, Landscape Architects may want to look into recycled materials when specifying play equipment and amenities.

SelecTech Inc. of Taunton, MA produces recycled plastic timbers called SelecTimber that is a durable and safe alternative. SelecTimber can be utilized for any outdoor landscaping project. Because it can be easily cut using hand power saws, it is perfect for garden edging, stairwells, raised beds, swing set and playground areas, sandboxes, outdoor walls and more. Resistant to UV rays, extreme temperatures and man-made chemicals, the 6" x 6" x 8' SelecTimbers weigh 35 pounds each and have a 50 year limited warranty.

SelecTimber is natural looking plastic timber made from 100 percent recycled materials. It is splinter-free, chemical-free and insect, termite and water resistant.

"We strive to provide consumers with the safest and most durable products available," said Tom Ricciardelli, president and founder of SelecTech, Inc. "By using 100 percent recycled plastic waste in our SelecTimber, there are no toxic additives and we eliminate a great deal of plastic waste in landfills. One of our greatest advantages is that we use injection molding in the manufacturing process, which enables to produce three-dimensional shapes."

Tests show that Recycled Plastic Lumber has 1 percent deterioration over 75 years without the aid of dangerous CCA. Play Mart who built the above play structure makes sure that every structure is ADA accessible and every structure is approved by a design team, a Landscape Architect and Certified Safety Inspector.

Play Mart, Inc. of Somerset, KY has an entire line of play structures made with Recycled Structural Products (RSP). RSP is lumber made from reclaimed plastic and is an environmentally friendly maintenance-free alternative to pressure treated wood offering several advantages. RSP has a low frequence of weathering because there is no rotting, splintering, cracking, or checking. There are no organic materials to deteriorate and the color is consistent throughout the material because it is UV protected.

Recycled Plastic Lumber tests show less than 1 percent deterioration over 75 years.

Some of the play structures available form Play Mart, Inc. include the Mega Play Systems which is designed for the older growing child and is perfect for large commercial sites, parks, schools and large church sites. The Mini Play Systems features age appropriate designs to challenge the developing younger child. The system is best used for smaller commercial sites such as daycare centers, preschools and apartments. The Fitness Systems features three different options; the first is Centers, which includes stations joined by common posts for an economical system. The Tracks is separate stations in common surfacing area and Trails, which is individual stations in trail layout.

Every Play Mart design is personally inspected and approved by the Play Mart design team which includes a Registered Landscape Architect and Certified Safety Inspectors. After a customer has chosen a specific structure that fits their needs the design team customizes the structure to that specific site.

Play Mart is a member of IPEMA (International Playground Equipment Manufacturers Association); they adhere to ASTM standards and make sure every structure is ADA accessible. They have product, liability and workman's compensation insurance in the total of $24.5 million.

Another company making recycled playground products in Play USA, located in Matthews, NC. The company carries five residential and seven commercial lines of play systems as well as providing design and construction of their own line custom projects out recycled plastic materials. Residential systems are built from redwood, cedar, pine or recycled plastic raw materials. The play systems are for 2-5 year olds; 5-12 year olds and ADA accessible play systems. The price range for the systems in the three categories ranges from $1,000-$30,000 depending on size and features, and does not include installation costs.

The company was started during 1986 when Scott Saunders, President and Founder of Play USA and his wife Kimberly were searching for wooden playset for his 3-year-old son. After visiting a facility that Scott felt was the best product for their needs, the owner of the manufacturing company asked Scott and Kimberly if they would become dealers and sell the products themselves. They agreed and a Swings-N-Things came on the scene. in 1997, the company changed its name to Play USA and moved to its present location in 1994 where the company increased its space by 700 percent and introduced its new concept of an indoor playground/showroom. In 1998 the company was recognized by the United States Chamber of Commerce as one of its Blue Chip Enterprise award winners.

So if the recent alarm over arsenic has got you changing your mind about what you use when specifying play structures, checking out recycled products may be something to look into. hello

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October 23, 2019, 10:03 pm PDT

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