FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 10, 2015
MEDIA CONTACTS: Carole Trottere, Ryan Mulholland, Sam Marksheid, and Rebecca Cheng | (516) 869-7794
Sen. Schumer and Supervisor Bosworth Join in Urging PSEG to Suspend Use of Penta on Utility Poles
Officials ask EPA to investigate use of wood preservative immediately
Manhasset, NY – Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth and United States Senator Charles E. Schumer teamed up today for a joint press conference at Manhasset Valley Park, where they called on PSEG-LI to suspend the use of pentachlorophenol, a wood preservative also known as ‘penta,’ on wooden utility poles throughout Long Island. They also called on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to investigate the use of the preservative, which can result in neurological issues, among other health concerns.
"There’s no debate that 'penta' is a highly toxic chemical that should be nowhere near playgrounds or our drinking water, and I am petitioning the federal EPA to step in and investigate the long-term impact of using this toxic chemical on utility poles in Long Island neighborhoods and parks,” Senator Schumer said.
Supervisor Bosworth, who called on the EPA to ban ‘penta’ in a letter earlier this year, said, “I am extremely pleased to be standing with Senator Schumer as we speak out about the harmful effects of Penta to our residents and our environment. I and many of the Town’s residents are extremely concerned about the continued use of ‘penta’ as a wood preservative for utility poles. ‘Penta’ is a probable carcinogen and has long been recognized as a public health threat. It’s time for the EPA to investigate this toxic carcinogen.”
Senator Schumer and Supervisor Bosworth were joined by several community activists including Patti Wood, director of Grassroots Environmental Education, Inc., Mindy Germain, Executive Director of Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington, and Chuck Idol, an environment advocate from Port Washington.
Wood echoed the sentiments of Senator Schumer and Supervisor Bosworth, as well as noting the risks that ‘penta’ poses to children. “A growing number of citizens use the sidewalk to travel to and from work, school and shopping. Bus stops where parents wait with their children are located all along these paths and near these poles,” Wood said.
Germain, who has spearheaded a number of environmental initiatives aimed at improved quality of life in Port Washington, said, “Utility poles that line the roadways where we live, learn, and work, are treated with ‘penta.’ As advocates for a walkable and vibrant downtown, these unprotected poles in our community run contrary to our vision of a pedestrian friendly downtown.”
Idol, who has expressed his concerns to the Town regarding the dangers of ‘penta’ during recent months, emphasized that, “There are alternative methodologies to using ‘penta’ including using composite utility poles.”
The Town passed legislation last year that required utilities to place a warning sign on every fourth pole, installed after January 2014 that has been treated with ‘penta.’ This law is currently being challenged in court by PSEG Long Island.
Supervisor Bosworth addresses the press alongside Senator Schumer.
Supervisor Bosworth and Senator Schumer walk along Maple Street in Manhasset with penta treated utility poles lined up behind them.