EPA targets plastics company in PFAS probe

EPA and environmental groups are targeting a company for allegedly releasing “forever chemicals” into tens of millions of plastic containers that later contaminated pesticides, which the agency said poses “unreasonable” risks to workers and the environment.

At the center of both an EPA complaint and an environmental group lawsuit is Inhance Technologies, an obscure Houston-based company whose facilities across multiple states blast plastic packaging from other manufacturers with fluorine gas in an effort to make those products more durable and resilient. But the company has a long history of environmental and labor complaints, according to an E&E News review of documents obtained via public records requests.

Now, Inhance is under fire for its links to contamination of PFAS, a class of chemicals tied to serious health impacts. Last month, a pair of advocacy groups sued Inhance (https://peer.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/Complaint-CEH-and-PEER-v-Inhance-filed.pdf) while EPA similarly filed a complaint (https://subscriber.politicopro.com/eenews/f/eenews/?id=00000185-784f-dac2-a7a7-7b7fa33f0000) against the company for violating the Toxic Substances Control Act. Both legal actions followed testing conducted two years ago that found PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, in pesticide products stored in plastic containers that had been treated by Inhance.

Though EPA and the environmental groups are both targeting Inhance, advocates with the Center for Environmental Health and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility say they have been deeply frustrated by the slow pace of government action against the company. They remain concerned about EPA’s approach, even as the Biden administration has said tackling PFAS pollution is a top priority. The groups hope the simultaneous legal actions will ensure the federal government holds Inhance accountable for the contamination it has allegedly caused.

By E.A. Crunden, Ariel Wittenberg | 01/05/2023 01:34 PM EST

E&E News: Greenwire,