EPA Takes Action to Investigate PFAS Contamination

fresh water stream

As part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) extensive efforts to address PFAS, today the agency is making new information available about EPA testing that shows PFAS contamination from fluorinated containers.

Through a coordinated effort with both the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and a pesticide manufacturer, the agency has determined that fluorinated high-density polyethylene (HDPE) containers that are used to store and transport a mosquito control pesticide product contain PFAS compounds that are leaching into the pesticide product.

While the agency is early in its investigation and assessment of potential impacts on health or the environment, the affected pesticide manufacturer has voluntarily stopped shipment of any products in fluorinated HPDE containers and is conducting its own testing to confirm EPA results and product stability in un-fluorinated containers. In addition, EPA has issued a request for information under the Toxics Substance Control Act (TSCA) to the company that fluorinates the containers used by certain pesticide manufacturers. The TSCA subpoena requests information about the fluorination process used to treat the containers.

As EPA evaluates this issue, the agency asks that pesticide and other companies using fluorinated containers, and entities that provide container fluorination services, engage in good product stewardship and examine their distribution chains to identify potential sources of contamination. EPA will also continue to work closely with the entities involved and their supply and distribution chains, mosquito control districts, the pesticide and packaging industry, federal partners, states, and tribes that may be affected to provide information and guidance on next steps. EPA understands the need to provide guidance to states, tribes, and other users as they prepare to purchase mosquito control products for 2021 and will provide more information as it continues its investigation.

EPA will update the following webpage with information as it becomes available: https://www.epa.gov/pesticides/pfas-packaging

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Carlton Powell