MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Sen. Charles Schumer has added his voice to a growing chorus of elected officials and residents expressing concern about the use of a pesticide on wooden utility poles.
Schumer said at a press conference on Long Island Monday that he’s concerned that pentachlorophenol may be seeping into the groundwater. The pesticide, which is known as penta, also preserves wood.
Schumer wants the federal Environmental Protection Agency to immediately investigate its use on utility poles. He estimates that at least 95,000 wood poles on Long Island have been treated with the chemical.
“It’s no secret that penta is a highly toxic chemical,” he said. “In fact, the EPA has said that short-term inhalation of penta — short-term — is extremely toxic to humans and is a probably human carcinogen.”
He also urges the utility PSEG Long Island to stop using the treated poles.
“We’re calling on them to stop installing any new utility poles with penta until the long-term, federal investigation is completed,” he said.
In a statement, the utility said “the health and safety of our customers and employees is a top priority.”
“PSEG Long Island is relying on the current EPA registration determination, which permits the use of penta in utility poles,” it said. “If the EPA issues a revised determination, of course, we will respond and comply accordingly.”
(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)