From the Queens Courier:
Though the temperatures this week may be in the 60s and 70s, when last week the thermometer soared into the 80s, people under the “J” train had to deal with the “sticky mess from above” – the creosote that drips from the elevated line in Richmond Hill and Woodhaven.
According to the web site for FELA, or the Federal Employers Liability Act, “Creosote is the name used for numerous substances that are produced using high temperature treatment of coal, certain woods, or resin from the creosote bush.
Widely used and unregulated for almost two centuries, creosote can be found in thousands of miles of railroad tracks and rail yards across the country. However, recent research has linked creosote to a number of health hazards, including convulsions, liver disease, cancer, and even death.”
In August of 2007, then-Governor Eliot Spitzer partially banned the manufacture, sale and use of creosote in New York State, but it did not pertain to the “J” line.