EPA confirms PFAS can leach from shipping containers into food, other products

By Shannon Kelleher

Toxic chemicals knowns as PFAS leach from the walls of shipping containers into the products they contain, potentially contaminating food, pesticides, and other products transported all over the world, according to study by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The findings provide fresh evidence backing concerns that per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances used to coat the insides of shipping containers can contaminate the contents of those containers. The EPA analysis found that 8 types of PFAS compounds leached into water and methanol samples stored in fluorinated high-density polyethylene (HDPE) containers after just one day.

The EPA said the analysis provided “a clear indication” of the migration of PFAS from container walls to the liquid solutions in the container. The agency said the amount of PFAS leached into the solutions generally increased with time during the agency’s 20-week testing period.

The levels of contamination the EPA found were higher than the health advisory threshold of about 0.004 parts per trillion (ppt) EPA recently set for PFOA, one of the PFAS chemicals identified in the barrels.