Mass. Towns Urge To Stop Spraying Pesticides Due To Water Contamination

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BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Some areas of the Bay State will no longer spray the mosquito repellant Anvil 10+10 because a chemical in it has been contaminating drinking water supplies.

The water in towns such as North Attleboro, Foxboro and Mansfield have shown to contain the chemical known as PFAS, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances.

According to Massachusetts Mosquito and Spraying, the EPA stated that these pesticides, "do not pose an unreasonable risk to birds or mammals, if used according to the product label directions."

PFAS is known to stay in a environment for a long time and does not break down easily. It can be found in water, soil, air, and food.

If too much is ingested, over time is can cause health effects to occur.

“Not only is this bad for human health and the environment, for the long-term effects it causes, but [the pesticides] can also pose an immediate danger to vulnerable populations, including children with chronic health problems,” reported Renee D’Argento, chair of Pepperell’s Board of Health, told selectmen according to The Boston Globe.

In August 2020, there was an emergency mosquito response in Bristol County and Plymouth County where three planes aerially covered the area totally— 178,823 acres of land sprayed using 985 gallons of Anvil 10+10 ULV.

Two months later, MassDEP called for standard water testing for levels of six PFAS chemicals. It is requires that Massachusetts Maximum Contamination Level (MMCL) could not exceed 20 nanograms per liter.

Even with the state's water regulations, health advocates are worried that blanketing Massachusetts in pesticides will cause chemicals to leach into groundwater.

According to the Boston Globe, 20% of the public water sources tested so far have PFAS levels above the state's limit.

"Drinking water samples must be analyzed for PFAS by labs using EPA Methods: 537 or 537.1. On June 17, 2020 the MassDEP Division of Environmental Laboratory Sciences established a certification process for laboratories using these Methods," the Department of Environmental Protection said.

Craig Gilvarg, deputy communications director of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs reported there is a review underway to determine which produces are best to use in the event of a public health risk from EEE (Eastern equine encephalitis).

WBZ NewsRadio's Kim Tunnicliffe (@KimWBZ) reports:

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Written by Edyn Jensen

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