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Wondering about hunting morels this spring around power lines. Does the government apply chemicals around power lines (in order to kill plants and trees) that would be absorbed by the shrooms and make them unsafe to eat?

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Excellent question.

<strong>Utility Companies who own/use the transmission lines use herbicides regularly.</strong> Some herbicides can build up in the soil over time. Ditto Railroads.

One mushroom hunter in the eastern states became ill and was found to have arsenic poisoning. It turned out to be from eating lots of morels picked in an abandoned apple orchard that was routinely doused with arsenic based pesticides in the earlier 1900's. It had cumulatively built up in the soil and was absorbed by the Morels.

A quick search of Utility/transmission line companies brings up the following citations which are indicative but not exhaustive.

1. Does PPL Electric Utilities use herbicides?
The judicious <strong>use of herbicides is an important part of our vegetation management program.</strong> We use herbicides to manage undesirable growth in the right of way. These herbicides are all EPA-approved and are applied by hand or from trucks or using small ATVs. Herbicides are used on all transmission rights of way unless the easement agreement specifically prohibits it. We take necessary environmental precautions when using herbicides, some of which are the same as those commonly used by homeowners. Herbicides are applied as part of the initial treatment of the right of way and typically in a three-year cycle thereafter

2. The herbicides that we currently use in the Carolinas to spray brush in the rights-of-way include:
<strong>Herbicide </strong> Manufacturer Product Info
<strong>Lineage Clearstand </strong> DuPont Corp. View List
<strong>VM Specialty Herbicide</strong> Dow AgroSciences View List
<strong>Nufarm Polaris Herbicide</strong> Nufarm Specialty Products View List
<strong>Rodeo</strong> Dow AgroSciences View List

If you have concerns or would like more information about Duke Energy's herbicides program, contact the customer service center, 1-800-777-9898 (option 4, "other questions") and ask to be connected with a vegetation management specialist.

3. Duke Energy-Managing with Herbicides
Overgrown vegetation near power lines and equipment can pose safety hazards and cause avoidable power outages. To minimize power interruptions resulting from overgrowth, Duke Energy uses an environmentally responsible vegetation management program to control the natural plant growth within power line rights of way. <strong>A critical part of this program is herbicide application</strong>.
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