In Kentucky, hundreds of horse farms dot the land. Thousands of miles of wooden fence posts outline these farms, which have become an icon of the Kentucky landscape. What goes unnoticed is the potential impact these fence posts are having on the environment.
Arsenic (As) is a poisonous metalloid, an element with metal and non-metal properties, that can have a significant impact on ecosystem function and pose potential health risks to humans. Installation and disposal of chromated copper arsenate (CCA) treated lumber introduces arsenic into the environment, due to the metalloid’s use as an insecticidal agent. The use of CCA treated wood for residential applications, such as decking and child play structures, has stopped. However, CCA treated lumber is still used for agricultural applications, including farm fencing.
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Photo Credit: Mary Slevin