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Persistent Pollutants

Mosquito spray tainted with PFAS from shipping containers

US EPA asks pesticide makers to check for contamination from packaging

by Cheryl Hogue
January 19, 2021

Photo shows used plastic containers of insecticides.
Credit: Shutterstock
EPA says PFAS from plastic containers leached into an insecticide used to control mosquitoes.

Environmentally persistent chemicals discovered in an insecticide aerially sprayed in more than half of US states leached into the pesticide from plastic shipping containers, the Environmental Protection Agency says.

An assortment of toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) migrated into Anvil 10+10 from containers made of high-density polyethylene (HPDE) treated with fluorinated compounds and used to store and transport the pesticide, the EPA says. Anvil 10+10 is a synthetic pyrethroid insecticide used to control mosquitoes. It is sprayed in at least 25 states, according to the advocacy group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), which was instrumental in discovering the contamination.

“Shipping containers may be a significant source of PFAS exposure through the entire US agricultural sector,” Kyla Bennett, science policy director for PEER, says in a statement.

“The agency asks that pesticide and other companies using fluorinated containers, and entities that provide container fluorination services, engage in good product stewardship and examine their distribution chains to identify potential sources of contamination,” the EPA says.

Clarke Mosquito Control Products, which manufactures Anvil 10+10, reported—and the EPA confirmed—that it does not blend PFAS into the insecticide and found none in its ingredient supply chain. Illinois-based Clarke Mosquito Control Products “has voluntarily stopped shipment of any products in fluorinated HDPE containers and is conducting its own testing to confirm EPA results and product stability in un-fluorinated containers,” the EPA says.

Meanwhile, the agency issued a subpoena under the Toxic Substances Control Act seeking information from the company that applies fluorinated compounds to the HPDE containers used to store and transport Anvil 10+10. The EPA did not name the company.



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