PRESS RELEASE

PEER Requests Florida Take Immediate Action 

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For immediate release: Tuesday, January 26, 2021
Contact: Jerry Phillips, (850) 877-8097; Kirsten Stade, kstade@peer.org

PEER Requests Florida Take Immediate Action

To Stop Leaching of Toxic Chemicals into Consumer Products

Tallahassee – New information from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shows that the fluorinated high-density polyethylene (HDPE) containers used to store and transport the pesticide Anvil 10+10 contain per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).  As a result of these findings, PEER is requesting that Florida immediately quarantine Anvil 10+10 and take additional steps to protect public health and the environment.

This past fall, PEER’s testing of Anvil 10+10 revealed that it contains roughly 250 ppt of PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic acid, a C8 PFAS, manufacture of which has been phased out in the U.S.), and 450 – 500 ppt of HFPO-DA (Hexafluoropropylene oxide dimer acid, a “GenX” replacement for PFOA). Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MADEP) also tested Anvil 10+10 and found additional PFAS contamination. By contrast, the EPA has a 70 ppt Lifetime Health Advisory for PFOA. As a result of PEER’s work, the EPA determined that the HDPE containers used to store and transport Anvil 10+10 contained PFAS that leached into the pesticide. EPA is now asking states with existing stock of Anvil 10+10 stored in HDPE containers to “red tag” the stock and hold it for now.

These containers are used for multiple consumer products, including pesticides, other agricultural products, and food, which raises the question of how many other products are contaminated with PFAS.

In a letter to the Secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Commissioner of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, PEER requests that Florida:

  • Prohibit the use of existing stocks of Anvil 10+10 statewide;
  • Launch a comprehensive investigation into the universe and use of products stored in fluorinated HDPE containers; and,
  • Require pesticide companies to provide comprehensive tests of their products showing the absence of fluorinated chemistry before Florida allows the sale or use of such pesticides.

PFAS are associated with a variety of ailments, including suppressed immune function, thyroid disease, testicular and kidney cancers, and liver damage. The immune suppressive effects are particularly concerning for those exposed to COVID-19, the flu, and other related diseases.
“EPA’s discovery has opened a Pandora’s Box of health risks,” stated PEER Science Policy Director Kyla Bennett, whose testing of the insecticide first raised the alarms, according to the EPA statement.  “Shipping containers may be a significant source of PFAS exposure through the entire U.S. agricultural sector.”

“Florida needs to act now,” stated Florida PEER Director Jerry Phillips, a former environmental enforcement attorney, pointing out that Florida has yet to adopt a PFAS standard.  “As the term ‘forever chemicals’ implies, PFAS do not break down when they migrate through the soil back to aquifers. We need to act immediately to keep toxic PFAS out of our environment.”

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Read PEER Letter to Secretary Valenstein and Commissioner Fried

Read EPA’s January 14th Press Release on PFAS in HDPE Containers

Find more information about the health effects of PFAS

Look at the Material Data Safety Sheet for Anvil 10+10

Read PEER’s critique of EPA performance on PFAS