Statement: EPA says PFAS contamination in pesticides may violate federal law

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Responsible parties should be held accountable for PFAS contamination

PIRG

WASHINGTON — In an effort to protect communities from PFAS contamination, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on Wednesday that the presence of PFAS contamination in pesticides could be a violation of a federal toxic chemical law, known as the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The EPA has signaled the presence of so-called “forever chemicals” in pesticides could stem from the fluorinated containers used for storage and transportation.

As part of an investigation that started last December, EPA said it would notify companies of their obligation to comply with TSCA to ensure PFAS contamination, even if unintentional, does not occur. PFAS chemicals have leached into pesticides sprayed in Massachusetts, including a widely used mosquito repellent.

PFAS are a class of over 9,000 toxic chemicals that are used to make a wide variety of consumer products water and grease resistant, including food packaging, rugs and carpets, clothing, and firefighting foam. Exposure to these chemicals, even in small amounts over time, has been linked to serious health effects including kidney and liver disease, developmental issues and cancer.

An expert from PIRG’s Zero Out Toxics Campaign issued the following statement:

“Toxic PFAS should not be allowed anywhere near our bodies, let alone be allowed to be sprayed over our communities,” said Emily Rogers, PIRG’s Zero Out Toxics Advocate. “I applaud EPA for taking this step to ensure that PFAS, whether intentionally added or not, are not leaching into pesticides and threatening public health.”

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