Some in the Maine business community would like to turn back the clock on Maine’s efforts to solve the PFAS problem. They downplay or ignore the medical literature on the impacts of PFAS exposure and the real, ongoing costs of PFAS pollution to Maine’s business community.  

Fred Stone pets Marybell, a swiss limousin calf born in December at his Arundel dairy farm. Stone’s farm was the first in Maine to shut down due to PFAS contamination. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

Farming is hugely important to Maine’s economy as a whole and is the driving economic force in communities across our very rural state. According to the governor’s office, Maine’s farms contribute more than 3.6 billion dollars to Maine’s economy. As farmers, we employ more than 27,000 people in the state. Agriculture is a necessary and important part of Maine’s economic future.  

We are members of Maine’s farming community who are bearing the brunt of the PFAS pollution crisis.

Maine DEP has reported that 56 farms had been identified with sludge-linked PFAS contamination as of January this year. Some of our businesses have been forced to shut down completely. Others among us have managed to stay in business through a combination of luck, tenacity and very hard work coupled with significant investment from the nonprofit community and Maine’s PFAS Fund.   

PFAS contamination is doing irreparable harm to the business community. Those costs are borne by farming communities and taxpayers. We must do everything we can to prevent future contamination.  

In response to the crisis of farmland contamination, Maine ‘turned off the PFAS tap by banning the continued land-application of PFAS-laden sewage sludge. But as the wastewater treatment industry will attest, it’s critical that we turn off the tap all the way upstream and get unnecessary PFAS out of commerce to prevent these dangerous chemicals from ever being released into the environment.  


In 2021, the Legislature passed the PFAS in Products Law to do just that. The law requires manufacturers to tell DEP if their products contain intentionally added PFAS, if so how much, and what purpose it serves. Under the law, those PFAS uses will be slowly phased out over the next decade if they are non-essential or can be readily replaced with safer alternatives. 

Maine is not the only state that is restricting PFAS. Minnesota also requires that industry report PFAS use in products and will phase out non-essential uses of PFAS by 2032. California has banned PFAS in apparel by 2025 and outerwear for extreme weather by 2028. Additionally, 12 states have banned PFAS in food packaging, and eight states have banned PFAS in rugs and carpets. Canada has proposed banning the whole class of PFAS from use in consumer products and the European Union has proposed a universal phase-out of all uses of PFAS over the next several years. 

There is an enormous incentive for companies to replace PFAS with safer alternatives now and the market is responding. Maine is part of the international groundswell to create a healthier future.  

The writing is on the wall. People do not want toxic chemicals in their products that harm our farm economy, our health and the environment. We need to keep Maine’s PFAS in Products Law intact. 

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