The US Environmental Protection Agency is cracking down on a fluorination process that enhances the barrier properties of certain plastic containers. The agency says the process, used by Inhance Technologies to treat millions of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic containers each year, creates dangerous per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) impurities that can leach into products stored in the treated containers. The EPA and environmental groups filed lawsuits against Inhance in December 2022 for its failure to notify the agency that it produces certain long-chain PFAS.
Environmental groups involved in the case welcome the EPA’s decision to essentially ban Inhance’s fluorination process. “This is a huge step forward in eliminating PFAS from consumer products and a win for human health and the environment,” Kyla Bennett science policy director at Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, says in a statement. “EPA has known about PFAS leaching from these containers for three years, and it’s a relief that EPA is finally taking action to halt this dangerous practice.”