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DANGER DO NOT TOUCH

May 19, 2018

PUBLIC POISON UPDATE

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Agricultural Environmental Services is taking your concern about the www.bit.ly/poisonpoles seriously. 

On Friday May 18, 2018 they sent an Environmental Specialist to take wood samples from the access barrier poles on the public beach in front of the Hard Rock Hotel.  They will have the samples tested to determine the content of the preservative used.

 

The Specialist met with me the same morning to go over the affidavit I filed with the Department.  He added to the complaint my concerns about surface poison that would expose children, unsuspecting guests of the 3.5 star Hard Rock Hotel, and Volusia’s visitors and residents to dermal toxicity from the two known carcinogens present in CCA treated utility poles.

 

After asking the Volusia County Coastal Division for the labels that are attached to each utility pole with any appropriate warnings for the associated pesticide content, the Specialist was told all the labels were disposed of.  This is not against the law and is customary.  We all dispose of the labels removed from PT lumber during construction. 

 

However, the Specialist was able to obtain a copy of the receipt for the poles and was on his way to Orlando to find out who the manufacturer was and what they treated the poles with.  The Orlando based company was just the retailer and broke no laws in selling to the County.  It is the responsibility of our County to understand the safety of anything they are placing in public play areas.  One might expect they would use reasonable caution in any area for that matter.  It is also the responsibility of the County to use the poles as labeled.

 

The Dept. of Agriculture wants to know if the manufacturer used the CCA according to label restrictions in the pressure treating process.  I suspect they in fact did use it properly.  It is too expensive to over use restricted use pesticides.  Since the company needs to make a profit to stay in business it is doubtful they did so. But the State is taking its oversight responsibility seriously and will verify that.

 

CCA is a restricted use pesticide that is commonly used as a wood preservative.  While the EPA has published data indicating the arsenate and chromic acid present in CCA are both carcinogens, they have only required a VOLUNTARY ban for some residential uses and all play areas since 2003. 

 

Former Governor Bush had all CCA treated lumber removed from our public school playgrounds.  These poles should not be used in any public area but that will require an outpouring of complaints from the public. 

 

The ban requires builders and government officials to use caution and respect for public safety in their decisions.  That should be enough.  Why would we need a law to prevent exposing known carcinogens to human and animal contact? 

 

My concern is not with the manufacturer or lumber company, it is with the use of these poison poles in a public play, picnic, and recreation areas. This is not just an issue with our beach.  It is a public display of the irresponsible and willful ignorance used by those we elect to represent us in forming public policy.  Are your interests being represented?

 

Anyone using this area would expect that any building materials placed there by our public servants would be safe. This is indicative of the careless thinking frequently displayed by some members of the Volusia County Council in a rush to provide favors for their largest campaign contributors.  Are you okay with the current oligarchy running your county?

 

We have a right to expect our elected public servants would first be aware of any published safety warnings concerning materials they required to be placed in public areas.  County Chair Ed Kelly wrote in an email to me that arsenic was not used in PT lumber.  That is an oversight that should not be made by those making public policy.  While one would reasonably assume arsenic, or any known carcinogen, would not be available for public use that is not a safe assumption. 

 

Billie Wheeler is the only County Council person who told me she was researching the poles herself. 

 

Pat Patterson said publicly that if we were going to remove all the toxic poles in Volusia County every dock, pier, and post would need to come down.  He thought my complaint was silly. That is a cavalier and irresponsible attitude for the safety of the people he was elected to serve.  First it indicates he knows there are toxins being used.  Second, any reasonable person would expect once the danger is known the logical next step should be to STOP further exposure to known carcinogens. Instead he thinks it is fine to add to it. 

 

How many people do you know fighting cancer?  How many died?  Environmental contamination is known to be a contributing factor in our rising cancer rates. 

 

We don’t tear down every building with asbestos in it but it is no longer used in construction either.  Why?  Because we know it is a carcinogen and no responsible person would use it once that is an established fact.  And, when a building containing asbestos is demolished all caution is used to contain and properly dispose of the contaminates.  It is just good public policy and common sense.

 

Should you have a reasonable expectation your public servants would use the same care and caution in areas where children may play?  Even if we give ignorance a pass, once the council learned these poison posts were used in a public play area, shouldn’t a reasonable person expect they would take responsibility and have them removed?

 

While this serious investigation by the Dept. Of Agriculture is a welcome sign there is no guarantee that the County will remove the poison poles.  Only you can accomplish that. 

 

My AFFIDAVIT and the States investigation will soon be public record.  You will be able to keep up with the investigation the state is conducting by searching file #118-112-2125.  As soon as I am given the link to this record I will pass it on.  You can let the Division of Agricultural Environmental Services know you appreciate a thorough investigation at www.freshfromflorida.com

 

You should also let your County Council member know you expect these poison poles to be removed and properly disposed of as required by law. 

 

Then, let’s put people in office who will serve as your representative this August 28, 2018.  I haven’t been bought.   And I am not afraid to speak up for you. 

Please vote for Jeff Brower, I am accountable to you.