PFOA, GenX discovered in insecticide. Findings could spur more litigation.
March 25, 2021
The EPA confirmed Thursday that it’s investigating new data showing a mosquito-killer made by Bayer CropScience LP had high concentrations of two well-known “forever chemicals” that have been linked to health problems.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s probe is part of a broader <news.bloomberglaw.com/environment-and-energy/forever-chemicals-stop-mosquito-control-shipments-epa-says> effort to understand how these chemicals have gotten into pesticides.
The Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) and the Maryland Pesticide Education Network notified <www.peer.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/3_24_21-EPA-Regan-Ltr-Permanone.pdf> the EPA on Wednesday that a sample of Permanone 30-30, a Bayer product used by many states for mosquito control, contained two per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS.
Specifically, the insecticide contained 3,500 parts per trillion of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), one of the most well-known and toxic forms of PFAS, and 630 parts per trillion of hexafluoropropylene oxide dimer acid (HFPO-DA), a PFOA replacement known as GenX, according to test results <www.peer.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/3_24_21-Permanone-J31526-1-UDS-Level-2-Report-Final-Report.pdf> from Eurofins Scientific, an international group of laboratories known for PFAS testing expertise.
“EPA has received the letter and data from PEER on Permanone 30-30 and will review it as part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to investigate PFAS contamination in pesticide products,” an agency spokesperson said by email.
Increased Risk of Lawsuits The PFAS discovery and its connection to a well-known company may spur litigation, said Seth Goldberg, an environmental attorney and partner in Steptoe & Johnson LLP’s Washington office.
“We’re already seeing a lot of litigation about these compounds, and this is another source that can be a focus of folks who want to focus on the problem,” he said, regarding PFAS.
But “it’s far from certain there would be any liability,” he said, pointing to the many unknowns including where the PFAS came from.
No ingredients in the mixture of Permanone 30-30 that Bayer provided the EPA—and that the EPA approved—contained PFAS, the agency said in a statement Thursday.
The EPA is testing different brands of pesticide containers treated with fluorine to determine whether they contain and/or leach PFAS, and if so, understand the conditions that affect that leaching, it said, adding that it would “present these findings as expeditiously as possible.”
Bayer CropScience, the agricultural and environmental science arm of BayerAG, provided a statement: “As a member of CropLife America, Bayer is engaged with the community and completely supportive of the industry’s efforts as we review the guidance from the EPA on this matter.”
The company referenced work the EPA announced earlier this month after it confirmed PEER-discovered PFAS in a different mosquito-control product called Anvil 10+10.
EPA is working <www.epa.gov/pesticides/pfas-packaging> with the Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and industry and trade organizations, including CropLife America, the National Pest Management Association, and the American Chemistry Council, to raise awareness of this emerging issue and product stewardship.
Source: Bloomberg Law By Pat Rizzuto March 25, 2021