Read the full article by Tom Perkins (The Guardian)

“Toxic PFAS chemicals have been detected in seven out of 10 insecticides tested in the US, according to new research. Six contained what the study’s lead author characterized as ‘screamingly high’ levels of PFOS, one of the most dangerous PFAS compounds.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has known about the findings for more than 18 months but appears to have not yet investigated the products or taken any action against the manufacturer.

PFAS, also known as forever chemicals, can be taken up by crops. Such high levels in pesticides creates a health risk if spread on fields where food is grown, public health advocates say.

‘We know PFOS is a carcinogen, we know it’s a deadly chemical and there’s no safe level in drinking water,’ said Kyla Bennett, a former EPA official and science policy director with the non-profit Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), which issued a press release on the study. ‘Our soil and water are now contaminated.’

In a statement, the EPA told the Guardian it’s reviewing active ingredients used in pesticides – those which kill pests – to determine if any are PFAS. However, PFOS could be an inert ingredient.

Per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, are a class of about 12,000 chemicals typically used to make thousands of products water-, stain- and heat-resistant. They do not naturally break down and accumulate in humans and the environment. A growing body of evidence links them to serious health problems such as cancer, birth defects, liver disease, kidney disease, autoimmune disorders, high cholesterol and decreased immunity.

Researchers from Texas Tech University checked 10 insecticides that were being used on cotton, but can also be used on food and other crops. The peer-reviewed study, published in Journal of Hazardous Materials Letters, found PFAS in seven of these ‘widely used’ insecticides, said environmental toxicologist and lead author Steve Lasee, who was at Texas Tech University at the time of the study. He is now an independent consultant with Lasse Research and Consulting and a research fellow for the EPA.

Testing revealed PFOS at a level as high as 19m parts per trillion (ppt) in one insecticide. The EPA hasn’t set limits for PFAS in pesticides, but in June it lowered its advisory health limit in drinking water to 0.02 ppt, a level so low as to suggest no amount of exposure to the compound is safe.” …