Expert tells Ridgewood officials: Chemical on utility poles not toxic
Monday October 21, 2013, 12:23 PM
BY RICHARD DE SANTA
The Ridgewood News
A consultant engaged by Public Service Electric & Gas (PSE&G) told Glen Rock and Ridgewood officials that the moisture sealant used on new utility poles in both towns is considered safe, likening its toxicity level to that of aspirin.
Glen Rock Mayor John van Keuren said last week that the Tennessee-based speaker – described as a tree preservative expert – delivered a PowerPoint presentation at an Oct. 11 meeting of municipal, county and state officials and PSE&G representatives.
The mayor said the “bottom line” of the talk was that the preservative – pentachlorophenol, or penta – is considered “quite safe, with no possible lingering toxic effects” and that “its production is very closely overseen by EPA (the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency).”
The meeting, held in Hackensack, was called in response to local concerns about the substance’s possible health impacts, following PSE&G’s Sept. 19 removal and replacement of stained soil under poles recently installed on Hope Street and South Maple Avenue in Ridgewood. The installations were part of the utility’s massive power and infrastructure upgrade project under way in both communities and neighboring towns since last spring.