Fluoride Action Network

Warning on danger of stolen power pole rods

Source: The Mercury | May 1st, 2004 | By SUE BAILEY
Industry type: Miscellaneous

TASMANIAN public health authorities warned last night of the potentially lethal dangers associated with stolen Aurora power pole rods.

About 100 of the Preschem pole saver rods were stolen from locked panniers in an Aurora pole tester’s vehicle parked in the locked yard at his Gagebrook home on April 20.

Dr Roscoe Taylor, the director of public health, raised the alarm as Aurora environmental officers visited two primary schools and residents at Gagebrook, trying to locate the chalk-like toxic rods.

“These 12-to-15cm white rods contain sodium fluoride which if swallowed is highly toxic and could be potentially fatal,” Dr Taylor said.

“Parents need to watch out in case their children should find and handle the rods.

“If a child is thought to have been poisoned, they should drink milk immediately and seek medical advice.

“Any child who touches them needs to wash thoroughly and any clothing needs to be washed carefully.”

Advice can be obtained from the Poison Information Centre on 13 11 26.

Dr Taylor said he believed 20 to 30 of the rods were still missing last night.

Aurora Energy yesterday completed a clean-up in Deak St, Gagebrook, where the rods were discovered by children at the base of a pole on Thursday afternoon.

Aurora’s safety health and environment manager Matt Clement said staff visited two primary schools and residents to try to recover the remaining rods.

“This material is not hazardous in its normal stable condition and is used by our pole testers as part of their day to day work,” Mr Clement said.

“However, it should not be handled without suitable protective clothing and we have advised the parents of any children who may have come into contact with the rods to seek medical advice if their youngsters develop respiratory problems or skin irritations.

“The local primary schools in Gagebrook have given us every assistance in dealing with the issue and we’re confident that the remainder of the rods will be recovered.”

The rods are used to plug test holes drilled into power poles.

Anyone who may have the rods in their possession should contact Aurora on 132 004.