PFAS Suspected in Pesticide Proposed for Use in Lake George; Gov. Hochul Asked to Intervene Immediately

By Lake George Association, May 22nd 2024

LAKE GEORGE, NY — The Lake George Association, the oldest lake protection organization in the country, and the Lake George Waterkeeper today called on Gov. Kathy Hochul to stop a plan to inject a pesticide into Lake George that may contain PFAS.

The state’s Lake George Park Commission is seeking permission from the Adirondack Park Agency and Department of Environmental Conservation to apply a pesticide known as ProcellaCOR as early as next month. In February, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture identified the active ingredient in ProcellaCOR, florpyrauxifen-benzyl, as a PFAS-containing pesticide. Minnesota found that, even when the active ingredient degrades, the resulting chemicals retain the chemical bond that Minnesota determined to be a PFAS pesticide.

The Park Commission is seeking to manage Eurasian watermilfoil, which is a nuisance but not a crisis. Milfoil has been managed effectively in most areas of Lake George through hand harvesting for nearly 40 years.

LGA Chair Peter Menzies said: “There is no need to apply a chemical that may contain PFAS; the milfoil nuisance simply does not justify the risk to human health and the environment. Managing milfoil is of utmost importance, but we need to find a safe, environmentally appropriate way to do that.’’

Lake George Waterkeeper Chris Navitsky said: “Gov. Hochul’s Administration has a responsibility to examine the scientific evidence that led Minnesota to raise the alarm about the presence of PFAS in ProcellaCOR. We’ve asked Gov. Hochul to halt any application of ProcellaCOR in a New York water body until these questions are thoroughly resolved.”

“New York State has been a national leader in banning PFAS from consumer products and keeping it out of water supplies. The prospect that the state could introduce a pesticide that may contain PFAS into Lake George, a primary drinking water supply serving thousands of people, is unthinkable,” Mr. Menzies said.

The possible presence of PFAS is one of several important scientific questions that have been raised about ProcellaCOR:

  • The manufacturer of ProcellaCOR says the pesticide is intended for use in slow-moving, quiescent waters with no outflow. Lake George is a very dynamic waterbody, with considerable water movement and exchange both horizontally and vertically and stream flow capable of carrying the pesticide to areas of the lake beyond the two treatment areas where the Park Commission proposes to apply it;
  • Low concentrations of ProcellaCOR, caused by the water movement and exchange, can actually spur the growth of aquatic plants, including milfoil biotypes that may be resistant to ProcellaCOR;
  • The use of ProcellaCOR may precipitate the need for additional pesticides with different chemical formulations to be used in the future.

The Lake George Association has alerted Gov. Hochul, the Department of Environmental Conservation, the Adirondack Park Agency, and the Lake George Park Commission to the concerns that the State of Minnesota raised about ProcellaCOR. The LGA is seeking an opportunity to work collaboratively with state agencies to come to an agreement on an environmentally responsible and long-term way to address milfoil in Lake George.

The Lake George Association is a leading Lake-protection organization for Lake George, the Queen of American Lakes. Our work includes technical and financial assistance to property owners; world-class research and direct protection programs through The Jefferson Project, the Lake George Waterkeeper, and an array of public-private partnerships; public education programs; and public policy advocacy, all with the goal of protecting the Lake’s water quality today and for the future.