Mosquito season is around the corner!
Some facilities contract with mosquito control vendors or are located within a community signed up for the state’s mosquito control program.
An insecticide widely used in public mosquito control and used by the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) has been found to contain high levels of toxic “forever chemical" PFAS, according to test results ordered by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) and the Maryland Pesticide Education Network (MPEN). Because PFAS (per-and polyfluoralkyl substances) do not break down in the environment, their presence in pesticides represents a new, uncontrolled pollution source. PFAS are associated with liver damage, thyroid disease, developmental issues, reduced fertility, high cholesterol, obesity, hormone suppression, and cancer.
PEER and MPEN notified the US EPA, MDA and the Maryland Dept. of the Environment (MDE) in a letter that a sample of the pesticide Permanone 30-30, used by MDA for the state’s annual mosquito control program, contains 3,500 parts per trillion (ppt) of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), one of thousands of PFAS. The sample also contains approximately 630 ppt of another PFAS (HFPO-DA). EPA currently has a lifetime health advisory of 70 ppt for PFOA.
In addition, combining PFAS with Permanone, an endocrine-disrupting pesticide that is linked to cancer and the exacerbation of respiratory illnesses, is of concern--especially for the patients health care facilities serve. EPA has thanked the two organizations for the data and opened an investigation. Soon after a similar pesticide in Massachusetts was found to be contaminated with PFAS, EPA stopped the use of that product around the country. This urgent action taken by EPA underscores the seriousness of these findings.
Other pesticides may also be contaminated by PFAS either from contaminated containers or as allowable inert ingredients in certain pesticides. While we await EPA’s guidance on Permanone and their plans to further test pesticide products for PFAS contamination, we urge all health care facilities to err on the side of caution and consider opting out of the state’s mosquito control program or from a vendor contract for mosquito control for this upcoming season. We hope that EPA and the state of Maryland will lead the way in a timely manner and halt the use of mosquito-eradicating pesticides this season until they have tested all such products for PFAS.
Contact us to find out about steps that can be taken to minimize mosquito populations without pesticides.