- The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) has resolved the DDE contamination issue in cannabis products.
- Initial testing found that 61 out of 108 products tested positive for DDE above the action limits.
- The WSLCB worked with licensees to remove administrative holds and destroy contaminated products.
- Washington’s pesticide and heavy metals testing regime for cannabis does not currently include screening for DDE.
- The WSLCB’s efforts to address the contamination issue have been commendable.
The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) recently announced that it has successfully resolved the DDE contamination issue in cannabis products. This announcement comes after several licensees’ products tested positive for DDE during random testing conducted by the Washington Department of Agriculture (WSDA) earlier this year.
DDE, a derivative chemical that forms after the breakdown of the pesticide DDT, was found in 61 out of 108 tested products. In response, the WSLCB placed administrative holds on 18 licensees and conducted additional testing on their products, as well as on soil and water in the area. After further investigation, the WSLCB worked with licensees to remove the holds and destroy the contaminated products.
It is important to note that Washington’s current pesticide and heavy metals testing regime for cannabis does not include screening for DDE. The WSLCB acknowledged this in its alert, stating that certified cannabis-testing labs are not required to test for DDE since contamination above actionable levels has not been detected elsewhere.
While there has been criticism about the omission of DDT/DDE from the list of compounds screened in cannabis products, the WSLCB’s bulletin suggests that the state-certified testing labs may not have the necessary equipment to detect DDT/DDE contamination. Adding it to the mandatory screening list at this time may not be feasible due to the limited number of equipped labs available.
However, the concern remains that without mandatory screening for contaminants like DDE, similar situations could occur and go undetected until the products are on the market. The WSDA played a crucial role in identifying the DDE contamination, but it may not have the capacity to regularly test all cannabis products for such contaminants.
Despite these challenges, the WSLCB should be commended for its diligent efforts in addressing the contamination issue. The board worked closely with licensees to ensure consumer safety by removing administrative holds and taking necessary steps to mitigate any potential damage. While no serious injuries were reported, it is crucial to consider implementing mandatory screening procedures for all cannabis products to detect contaminants early.