Plastic storage barrels contaminated with polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) may be in violation of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), according to an open letter released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last month. Manufacturers, producers, processors, distributors, users, and those that dispose of fluorinated High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) containers or other similar plastics that form PFAS as a byproduct were notified in the letter of requirements under federal law. The notice comes two years after EPA was first alerted to the presence of PFAS in a mosquito pesticide used by the state of Massachusetts known as Anvil 10+10. “Today’s action will help ensure that responsible parties are held accountable for any future PFAS contamination affecting communities,” said Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Michal Freedhoffm PhD.
While the agency believes its letter represents progress, health advocates note that there has been no meaningful regulatory action from the agency on this issue. In January 2021, a year after receiving notice from Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) on the presence of PFAS on Anvil 10+10, EPA confirmed the finding. At the time the agency did nothing, while acknowledging, “the need to provide guidance…” Even with the specific confirmation, EPA merely encouraged states with Anvil 10+10 stocks to “red tag that inventory and hold for now.”