Whenever elected officials sound a public health alert, the public reasonably presumes that lawmakers are acting upon sound and proven science. While normally a safe bet, the Maine Legislature took a major detour from this practice with the passage of L.D. 1503, An Act To Stop Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances Pollution.

A disinfection specialist wearing a disposable coverall cleans and disinfects a water storage tank. nurkhann/Shutterstock.com

This title sounds awfully serious, made even more so by the deliberate inclusion of the word “pollution.” In reality, Maine residents have been led astray. What the legislation lacks in science it more than makes up for in politics, a testament to nanny-state activism where ideology trumps facts.

The group of chemicals named in this new state law go by the shorthand PFAS. These chemicals are currently being scrutinized by numerous states and the federal government through the Environmental Protection Agency. L.D. 1503 bans the sale of all non-essential products containing PFAS by 2030, making it the most restrictive law in the nation.

Yet to date, there is little scientific consensus to what extent PFAS threaten public health.

Let’s start with what we do know. PFAS chemicals are central to our modern economy and every American’s quality of life. These chemicals are indispensable in medicine, energy, textiles, manufacturing, agriculture and even make possible the mobile phones in our pockets. Since the 1940s, PFAS have been invaluable for their unique properties such as being resistant to heat, water and corrosion, as well as their inert nature that makes their behavior stable and predictable when integrated into a product.

Banning them simply makes fewer products available at far more cost for every Maine family.


Without PFAS we lose many simple items such as non-stick cookware, dental floss, rust inhibitor and stain-resistant fabrics. But that’s not where the potential danger lies. Whether or not these products are ultimately made exempt or not, without PFAS we currently don’t have the technology to safely perform dozens of medical procedures in a sterile environment, procedures such as medical grafts, transplants and stent implants. PFAs are also present in instruments such as catheter tubes, heart patches and sterile needles, to name just a few.

Losing PFAS won’t just mean going back to copper pans and toothpicks; a rigidly applied ban could affect effective and innovative products that are central to our health, our financial well-being and our quality of life.

On many fronts, the Environmental Protection Agency is still grappling for answers regarding PFAS. Rulemaking without the full picture is akin to making decisions by throwing darts while blindfolded. This is especially true in Maine, given the enormous costs and burdens L.D. 1503 will create throughout the entire Maine economy.

The bottom line is that this harsh and restrictive rule will cost Maine workers, families and retirees more, and give them less. Businesses will be forced to spend an immense amount of time and resources to discover and inventory the PFAS in their products, again raising consumers’ costs and surely encouraging businesses to leave the state.

The newly elected leaders in Maine all campaigned on prioritizing the state economy for Maine’s families, workers, and retirees; an economy that grows, creates jobs and does all it can to defeat the scourge of inflation. A great first step in honoring this promise would be to pull the brakes on L.D. 1503 and not undermine the entire state economy based on lax science.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: