Researchers find harmful ‘forever chemicals’ in pesticide used against mosquitoes in Maryland


Lab tests ordered by environmental groups found harmful chemicals, called PFAS, in a pesticide that Maryland uses for its mosquito control program, the groups said Thursday.

PFAS — per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances — are known as “forever chemicals” because they don’t break down in nature, and they’re found in all kinds of products, from nonstick cookware to firefighting foams.

“The results for us are extremely disturbing, given the health impacts linked to these forever chemicals,” said Ruth Berlin, executive director of the Maryland Pesticide Education Network, which helped pay for the tests.

Last year, Maryland environmental regulators announced they intended to begin testing drinking water and Chesapeake Bay oysters <> for PFAS, since a growing number of studies linked the chemicals to liver, kidney and reproductive dysfunction, as well as high cholesterol levels and tumor growth.

The Maryland Department of Agriculture’s mosquito control program serves 2,100 communities in 16 counties, and spraying typically begins in mid-May in Southern Maryland and the Lower Eastern Shore. In other parts of the state, it begins in late May and early June.

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