Read the full article by E. A. Crunden, Ariel Wittenberg (E&E News)

“The presence of so-called forever chemicals in pesticides may stem from a violation of federal chemical law, according to an announcement today from EPA.

In an open letter this morning, EPA announced several actions amid an ongoing investigation scrutinizing plastic containers fluorinated with PFAS. Those chemicals have leached into pesticides, an issue the agency linked to high-density polyethylene (HDPE) barrels last year.

Now, EPA says the contamination may constitute a violation of the Toxic Substances Control Act, which regulates chemicals nationwide. EPA issued the letter to HDPE manufacturers, processors and other relevant parties, informing them that the presence of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances may fly in the face of federal law. The chemicals can be formed as byproducts in the containers.

‘As the agency continues to determine the potential scope of the use of this fluorination process outside of its use for pesticide storage containers, EPA is issuing this letter to notify industry of their statutory obligations under TSCA and to help prevent unintended PFAS contamination,’ the agency wrote.

Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Michal Freedhoff touted the action in a statement emphasizing EPA’s moves to protect the public.

‘Today’s action will help ensure that responsible parties are held accountable for any future PFAS contamination affecting communities,’ Freedhoff said.

EPA has been investigating the container issue since last December, when the nonprofit group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility found elevated levels of PFAS in pesticides sprayed in Massachusetts, including Anvil 10+10, a widely used mosquito repellent (E&E News PM, Jan. 15, 2021). Subsequent tests found PFAS present in additional pesticides, while EPA testing confirmed that the chemicals were in Anvil 10+10, with implications for a number of states (Greenwire, March 26, 2021). The manufacturer of Anvil has since changed the barrels it uses for the pesticides.”…