Posted by Dustin Troutman on April 13, 2022

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Wood treatment facilities using pentachlorophenol – commonly referred to as “penta” – have until February 2027 to use penta on their products, while penta manufacturers must cease penta production by February 2024.

‘Penta’ Officially Banned, FRP a Strong Wood Alternative

This ban makes wood poles an even more precarious material choice for utilities. Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) poles are a reliable alternative that never required penta for protection.

The Penta Ban

Pentachlorophenol has been in use since 1936, and it underwent the required 15-year registration review by the EPA last March. This March, the EPA concluded that penta poses “cancer and non-cancer health risks of concern to workers in wood treatment facilities” and is “very highly toxic to aquatic non-target organisms and honey bees,” according to the EPA. After a lengthy review and 60-day comment period, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) handed down their decision to remove the registration for pentachlorophenol.

The EPA noted that safer alternatives exist and provide equal or better results as penta, softening the blow of penta’s deregistration. The EPA gave penta a five-year phase-out to give those companies reliant on penta time to select and source an alternative wood treatment chemical – or an alternative material altogether.

Choose Fiber Reinforced Polymer Poles Instead

The EPA listed “composite materials” among its recommended alternatives to penta-treated wood. One such composite is Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP), an engineered material consisting of reinforcement fibers, polymer resin and additives to achieve the desired performance properties. FRP is a lightweight, high-strength, highly durable material that derives its strength from its chemical make-up, rather than from external chemical treatment.

While wood utility poles are prone to warping, decay and rot and must now cope with the ban on penta, FRP exhibits excellent dielectric strength and resistance to corrosion and pests like termites and woodpeckers. FRP delivers extreme durability without the need for an environmentally hazardous preservative.

Many utilities have already made the switch to FRP poles and rely on Creative Composites Group for the best FRP products, experience and support available. Learn more about FRP for utilities and to discuss the switch to FRP. The penta deregistration clock is ticking; don’t wait!

Topics: FRP Composites, utility poles, utility

Dustin Troutman

AboutDustin Troutman

Dustin is the Director of Marketing and Product Development for the Creative Composites Group. He earned his Civil Engineering degree in 1993 and spent the early part of his career in heavy construction. Dustin has been with Creative for 25 years and continues to be instrumental in the market investigation and development of major pultrusion products and product lines associated with civil/structural applications, holding four patents related to pultruded systems. He is a key player in the development of codes and standards in support of the FRP pultrusion industry.

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