Beyond regulations: Industry voluntary ban in arsenic use

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Firms play a key role in pollution abatement and control by engaging in beyond-compliance actions without the force of law in voluntary programs. This study examines the effectiveness of a bilateral voluntary agreement, one type of voluntary programs, negotiated between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the pressure-treated wood industry to phase-out the use of chromated copper arsenate (CCA), a poisonous arsenic compound. Arsenic is ranked number one on the EPA's priority list of hazardous substances. Unlike a majority of earlier studies on voluntary programs, dynamic panel estimation and structural break analysis show that while a technological innovation in semiconductors is associated with arsenic use increases, the CCA voluntary agreement is associated with a reduction in arsenic use to levels not seen since the 1920s. A voluntary ban in arsenic acid by pesticide manufacturers in the agriculture sector has also contributed to arsenic reductions. Furthermore, the results suggest that environmental activism has played a role in curbing arsenic use. Increasing stakeholder pressures, as measured by membership in the Sierra Club, improves voluntary agreement effectiveness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)435-446
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
StatePublished - Dec 15 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Environmental policy
  • Industry self-regulation
  • Voluntary compliance
  • Voluntary programs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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