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EPA investigates toxic 'forever chemicals' in pesticides

EPA investigates toxic 'forever chemicals' in pesticides
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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is investigating the presence of toxic chemicals in pesticides, which may be coming from their plastic containers, it said on Friday. 

The agency said in a statement that its testing showed that the chemicals, belonging to a family of substances called PFAS, were “most likely formed” by a reaction while fluorine was being put into the containers, and then “leached into the pesticide product.”

The agency said it was still early in its investigation, and that it will use “all available regulatory and non-regulatory tools to determine the scope of this emerging issue.” 

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The EPA said that it is “actively working” with the Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and industry and trade organizations to “raise awareness” of the issue. 

“The Biden-Harris Administration’s focus on developing and using the best available science will guide our decision-making, strengthen our work with stakeholders, and lead to pragmatic solutions that advance our efforts to address PFAS contamination and protect human health,” said acting assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Michal Freedhoff in a statement. 

PFAS refers to a class of chemicals that have been linked to cancer and other health issues. They have been found in a variety of household products, as well as water, and are sometimes called “forever chemicals” because of their persistence in nature and the human body. 

The statement comes after testing conducted by the environmental group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) last year which found the presence of PFAS in mosquito-killer Anvil 10+10. 

The EPA said that it found PFAS in fluorinated containers that a mosquito control product was packaged and sold, and a spokesperson for the agency confirmed that the product in question was Anvil 10+10.

Anvil’s manufacturer, Clarke Mosquito Control Products Inc., noted in a statement that there’s no PFAS in the product itself, but that its packaging may be the source of the contamination. 

It has “voluntarily ceased all sales and shipments to customers of Anvil 10+10 packaged in plastic containers and is directing its customers to not use Anvil 10+10 packaged in plastic containers” and will transition to PFAS-free packaging.