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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Pentachlorophenol' Category


03
Mar

Label Warning on Dangerous PCP-Treated Poles Deemed Unconstitutional

(Beyond Pesticides, March 3, 2016) Last month, U.S. District Court Judge Arthur Spatt declared a dangerous wood preservative label ordinance unconstitutional, ending a three year battle between a New York town and Public Service Enterprise Group (PESG). In 2014, under the authority of the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), PESG installed thousands of hurricane-resistant utility poles containing the hazardous wood preservative pentachlorophenol (PCP or penta). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines pentachlorophenol as “extremely toxic” to humans even from short-term exposure and is listed as a “probable human carcinogen.” Judge Spatt cited the First Amendment doctrine of commercial speech, stating that, “In order to qualify as commercial speech, the message sought to be regulated must necessarily bear some discernible connection to the commercial interests of the speaker.” Because the utility poles are not intended to be sold to the public nor influence consumer behavior, PESG is not required to post “compelled warning signs” on their dangerous utility poles. In 2014, the Town of North Hempstead on Long Island New York passed a law requiring warning labels on the utility poles that are treated with PCP. At a town board meeting on September 9, a vote of 7-0 mandated the […]

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18
May

International Treaty Bans Pentachlorophenal, U.S. Continues Use on Utility Poles and Railroad Ties

(Beyond Pesticides, May 18, 2015) Delegates from more than 90 countries took the unprecedented step of voting last week for a global ban on  pentachlorophenol (penta) — a proven toxic pesticide and contaminant found  in wildlife and human biomonitoring studies worldwide. The historic vote came at the combined meetings of the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions — which usually make decisions by consensus — after India repeatedly blocked action. The U.S. is not a signatory to the Stockholm Convention, which provides the framework to moving persistent organic pollutants out of commerce. During the meeting, India surprisingly rejected the findings of the Stockholm Convention’s own scientific expert committee in which it participated. Switzerland triggered the voting procedure — the first in the history of the convention. Ninety-four countries voted in favor of  global prohibition of pentachlorophenol; two opposed; and eight countries abstained. “We commend the global community for this important decision which will help ensure that the Indigenous Peoples of the Arctic and the traditional foods on which they depend are protected  against toxic pentachlorophenol,” said Pamela Miller of Alaska Community Action on Toxics. The delegates of the Stockholm Convention also supported international bans on two other  industrial chemicals that harm […]

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10
Mar

U.S. Senator Calls for Suspension of Pentachlorophenol, Used to Treat Utility Poles

(Beyond Pesticides, March 10, 2015) U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) yesterday called on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) yesterday to immediately investigate the specific use of pentachlorophenol  (penta or PCP), a toxic wood preservative, to treat  utility poles throughout Long Island and urged  Public Service Electric and Gas (PSEG) Long Island to immediately suspend further use of this chemical until a  federal review  is complete. PSEG has been installing new, chemically-treated utility poles throughout the Towns of North Hempstead and East Hampton. In his press  release, Senator Schumer expresses  serious concern about penta’s  health risks to utility workers, adults and children and its ability to  move  into water over the long-term as the chemical leaches from the poles. The Senator also notes that a private firm has conducted a study based on a very limited sample size that does not consider long-term risks as the pole decomposes and further leaches toward groundwater. EPA, which is responsible for evaluating penta’s health and environmental risk, has noted public health concerns related to the chemical when ingested or inhaled, including  neurological, respiratory, kidney and immune system effects. On Long Island, 95,000 of PSEG’s 324,000 utility poles have been treated with penta. […]

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21
Jan

North Hempstead Sued by Utilities over Pole Warning Signs

(Beyond Pesticides, January 21, 2015) Public Service Enterprise Group Incorporated (PSEG) Long Island and Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) filed suit against the Town of North Hempstead, New York on Thursday, seeking to impede a 2014 ordinance requiring utility companies to post warning signs on utility poles treated with the hazardous chemical pentachlorophenol (PCP).  The chemical has been listed as a possible carcinogen, is typically contaminated with various forms of dioxins and furans —known carcinogens that persist in the environment. The ordinance, passed in fall 2014, requires warning labels on utility poles  that are treated with the hazardous wood preservative  PCP. The warning states:  “This pole contains a hazardous chemical. Avoid prolonged direct contact with this pole. Wash hands or other exposed areas thoroughly if contact is made.”  PCP is highly toxic and has been listed as a possible carcinogen by national and international agencies. Concerns  have been raised throughout the years over the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) continued registration of PCP in the U.S. despite having been banned in all European Union member states, China, India, New Zealand, Indonesia, and Russia. The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Central Islip, asserts that the law violates the […]

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04
Nov

United Nations Committee Recommends Global Elimination of Toxic Wood Preservative

(Beyond Pesticides, November 4, 2014) Last week, a United Nations committee of experts recommended the global elimination of the pesticide pentachlorophenol (PCP), widely used in the United States and elsewhere for treatment of wooden utility poles and railroad ties. Scientists cite chemical’s persistence, bioaccumulation, long-range transport, and PCP’s toxic impacts in recommending it being listed in  the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, an  international treaty established to safeguard human and environmental health from highly hazardous chemicals. The committee further noted the wide availability of non-chemical alternatives much safer than PCP, which include steel, composite,  and concrete poles, as well as the burying of power lines. “This is the beginning of the end of pentachlorophenol,” said Pam Miller, executive director of Alaska Community Action on Toxics. “Pentachlorophenol has global health implications since it is found in the bodies of people throughout the world including Indigenous Peoples of the Arctic. Now governments and the private sector need to get to work to finally eliminate this toxic chemical.” The United States is not a signatory to the Stockholm Convention, and is, in fact, the largest producer and user of PCP in the world. U.S. government agencies have sent mixed messages during  the […]

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24
Oct

EPA Seeks to Block a Worldwide Ban of a Highly Toxic Wood Preservative

(Beyond Pesticides, October 24, 2014) The U.S. government is opposing international efforts    under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, supported by  countries worldwide, to halt the global use of the toxic chemical wood preservative, pentachlorophenol  (PCP), which is widely used in the U.S. to treat wood utility poles. U.S. government officials are out of step with countries around the world and domestically with  a bipartisan group of New York state lawmakers  seeking a state ban. Meanwhile, a group of Long Island residents is charging in a lawsuit  that hundreds of new PCP-treated utility poles are causing serious injury to health and property values. This month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services added PCP to its carcinogen list, saying that PCP is “reasonably anticipated to cause cancer.” The U.S. is the largest producer and user of PCP in the world. A meeting of a Stockholm Convention committee in Rome this week  is  recommending a global ban on PCP. The  Convention is an  international treaty established to control highly hazardous chemicals. While most countries engaged in the process approve of the ban, the U.S. has consistently opposed it. “Cancer-causing chemicals should not be leaking from utility poles into […]

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09
Oct

Toxic Wood Preservative Added to Government List of Carcinogens

(Beyond Pesticides, October 9, 2014) The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) released its 13th Report on Carcinogens, a science-based document that identifies chemical, biological, and physical agents that are considered cancer hazards for people living in the United States. While four substances were added, bringing the total list to 243, it is the addition of pentacholophenol (PCP) and its by-products that should raise eyebrows across the United States and perhaps even raise hopes of those fighting against the use of this dangerous chemical that it might be on its way out. Added to the DHHS list as a substance “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen,” PCP is primarily used as a wood preservative in such items as utility poles, railroad ties, and fence posts. An organocholrine compound, the substances was first developed and used as a pesticide. Byproducts of PCP include dioxins. The reasons for the inclusion on the HHS list include findings that exposure to this mixture was associated with an increased risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in studies in humans and caused tumors in the liver and other organs in mice. The addition of PCP to the DHHS’s list comes as little surprise, after decades […]

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24
Sep

State Legislation Introduced To Prohibit Utility Poles Treated with Hazardous Wood Preservative

(Beyond Pesticides, September 24, 2014) New York Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. and State Senator Kenneth LaValle have introduced legislation that will  prohibit the future use of utility poles treated with pentachlorophenol (PCP), and call for the posting of warnings to inform people about the dangers of contact with PCP on existing poles. PCP has been listed as a possible carcinogen, is typically contaminated with various forms of dioxins and furans -known carcinogens that persist in the environment. Just last week, Beyond Pesticides reported that the Town of North Hempstead on Long Island, New York passed a new law requiring warning labels on utility poles that are treated with the hazardous wood preservative  pentachlorophenol  (PCP). Labeling for treated poles are now required to have the following warning: “This pole contains a hazardous chemical. Avoid prolonged direct contact with this pole. Wash hands or other exposed areas thoroughly if contact is made.” PCP is highly toxic and has been listed as a possible carcinogen by national and international agencies. Concerns have been raised throughout the years over the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) continued registration of PCP in the U.S. even though it has already been banned in all European Union […]

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15
Sep

Local Municipality Requires Labeling of Penta (PCP)-Treated Utility Poles

(Beyond Pesticides, September 15, 2014) The Town of North Hempstead on Long Island, New York has passed a new law requiring warning labels on the utility poles that are treated with the hazardous wood preservative, pentachlorophenol  (PCP). At the town board meeting on September 9, a vote of 7-0 mandated the labeling with the following warning: “This pole contains a hazardous chemical. Avoid prolonged direct contact with this pole. Wash hands or other exposed areas thoroughly if contact is made.” Since the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), operated by Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG), installed thousands of new hurricane-resistant utility poles that are thicker and taller, it shed  more light on the community hazards  associated with use of pentachlorophenol. Of the 324,000 utility poles on Long Island, about 95,000 have been treated with PCP. Even though there is a prohibition  of PCP for residential uses within the U.S., it still can be used on utility poles, railroad ties and other industrial uses under  federal law. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines pentachlorophenol as “extremely toxic” to humans even from short-term exposure and is listed as a “probable human carcinogen.” The inhalation or ingestion can lead to cancer, Hodgkin’s disease, […]

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21
Sep

Utility Company Sued Over Pollution from Toxic Wood Poles

(Beyond Pesticides, September 21, 2009) In a federal lawsuit filed in San Francisco earlier this month, the environmental watchdog group Ecological Rights Foundation (ERF) claims that dioxin is being discharged from Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s (PG&E) utility poles into the San Francisco Bay, violating both the Clean Water Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Dioxin is a contaminant in the wood preservative pesticide pentachlorophenol (penta), the chemical used to treat more than one million PG&E utility poles in Northern California. Dioxin is a known human carcinogen. It also causes birth defects at extremely low levels. The ERF suit asks the court to stop PG&E from discharging dioxin from its utility poles, a move that could eventually lead to wide scale replacement of the ubiquitous penta-treated wood poles. “These are the common, I guess you could say ‘classic,’ brown wood poles you see holding up wires on practically every street,” says ERF attorney Bill Verick. Pentachlorophenol (penta) is a chlorinated aromatic hydrocarbon, closely related to other chlorophenols, hexachlorobenzene, polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and furans, all of which are found in commercial grade penta, along with secret “inert” ingredients. It was 1978 when EPA began its review of wood preservatives, including […]

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23
Feb

New Study Finds Insecticidal Lice Shampoos Contaminate Children’s Bodies

(Beyond Pesticides, February 23, 2009) Permethrin and lindane metabolites are found in children who use lice shampoos containing the insecticides, according to researchers affiliated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study, “Pesticide exposure resulting from treatment of lice infestations in school-aged children in Georgia,” published in the February issue of the journal Environment International, is the first to measure children’s exposure to chemical lice treatments. The researchers collected baseline urine samples from 78 enrolled children between the ages of six to ten years of age. About one-third of those children were diagnosed with head lice and subsequently treated with at least one over-the-counter permethrin lice treatment, a prescription lindane treatment, or both. Within seven days of the insecticide application, urine samples were again collected. The permethrin exposed children had significantly higher urinary pryrethoid metabolite levels in their post-exposure urine samples. Lindane metabolites were also elevated in urine samples after treatment. Interestingly, the study states, “Exposed participants appeared to have higher pre-exposure metabolite levels — likely from multiple treatments before enrollment — than unexposed participants.” Pentachlorophenol, a metabolite of lindane, was significantly higher in the urine of those children who used a lice treatment regardless of whether it […]

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29
May

Organochlorine Pesticide Linked to Behavioral Deficit in Infants

(Beyond Pesticides, May 29, 2008) A study published in the May issue of Environmental Health Perspectives shows a link between prenatal exposure to the pesticide DDT and poor attention-related skills in early infancy. This study follows in a long line of recent studies associated with the negative health effects of DDT including: diabetes; non-Hodgkin lymphoma; breast cancer; and autism. Despite the fact that DDT was banned in the U.S. in 1972, concentrations of this toxic chemical’s major metabolite, DDE, have remained alarmingly high in many ecosystems, including the waters of Los Angeles County, the arctic, and even U.S. national parks. All studies documenting the health effects of DDT and chemicals in the same family, organochlorines, are particularly important not just for understanding the lingering effects of DDT from days past, but because many countries continue to employ DDT as a method in controlling mosquitoes that transmit malaria, despite its toxicity, weakening efficacy, and availability of safer alternatives. Other organochlorines are still registered for use in the U.S.The study looked at 788 mother-infant pairs who met several criteria, which included living in a town adjacent to a Superfund site in New Bedford, Massachusetts, a location with known organochlorine contamination. Cord blood […]

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