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PFAS in Pesticides?
Recently published articles from watchdog groups Common Dreams and The Intercept reported on finding per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in Anvil 10+10, a pesticide produced by Clarke. Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) tested samples of Anvil 10+10 and found concentrations of PFAS in the hundreds of parts per trillion. Anvil 10+10 is used for mosquito control and is aerially sprayed in 25 states, including New York and Florida. In Massachusetts, 2.2 million acres were treated with Anvil 10+10 in 2019 and over 200,000 acres in 2020.
PEER alerted multiple regulatory authorities to the above, including the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Subsequent testing by the MassDEP on nine samples of Anvil 10+10 also detected similar concentrations of PFAS, although the results have not been released. In a March 5, 2021 press release, the EPA presented preliminary findings from testing completed in December 2020 and January 2021, revealing that the source of PFAS contamination may be fluorinated high-density polyethylene (HDPE) containers used to store and transport pesticides. The EPA has since asked states to discontinue use of their existing stock of Anvil 10+10 in fluorinated HDPE containers, issued a subpoena to the company that fluorinated the containers supplied to Clarke, and will be testing for PFAS in other brands of fluorinated containers.
More research, sampling, and testing will be needed to determine if the widespread use of pesticides may be the reason for PFAS detections in remote areas away from industrial activity. While not a topic at the forefront of the PFAS conversation, it bears keeping an eye on for environmental remediation and product liability.
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