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Substantial PFAS Contamination Found in Pesticides

Washington, DC — New research has documented disturbingly high levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in widely used pesticides. These findings contradict previous statements by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that PFAS are not used in registered pesticide products and has prompted Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) to urge that EPA act immediately to ban use of any pesticide containing PFAS.

Published this week in the Journal of Hazardous Materials Letters the study, “Targeted Analysis and Total Oxidizable Precursor Assay of Several Pesticides for PFAS,” found - 

• PFOS (one of the two legacy PFAS that is no longer manufactured in the United States) in 6 out of 10 tested insecticides at incredibly high levels, ranging from 3,920,000 to 19,200,000 parts-per-trillion (ppt). By contrast, this June EPA updated its Health Advisory for PFOS to 0.02 ppt;

• These PFAS are being taken up into the roots and shoots of plants, which means that they are entering our food supply through contaminated soils. Given that PFAS are “forever chemicals,” this contamination will last long after PFAS is removed from pesticides; and 

• A non-targeted PFAS analysis indicates that there are far more additional unknown PFAS in 7 out of 10 tested insecticides.