In 2021, the Legislature passed groundbreaking, bipartisan legislation to ban all nonessential uses of PFAS, also known as “forever chemicals,” in products used in Maine, with the goal of preventing further contamination across the state and protecting the health and environment of all Mainers.

EPA Forever Chemicals

Eric Kleiner, center, sorts samples for experimentation as part of drinking water and PFAS research at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Center For Environmental Solutions and Emergency Response in Feb. 2023, in Cincinnati. Joshua A. Bickel/Associated Press

L.D. 1503, which had unanimous support in committee and passed nearly unanimously in both the House and Senate, banned all nonessential uses of PFAS in Maine by 2030 and required companies that use PFAS in their products to report that information to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

Unfortunately, key provisions of that law have recently come under attack by businesses and aligned opposition groups, who are arguing that the reporting requirement places too big of a burden on them. But now is not the time for Maine to backtrack on the nation-leading progress we’ve made – we must reaffirm our commitment to addressing the emerging PFAS crisis and the health risks it poses to us all.

Over the last few years, Maine has made significant strides, becoming an international leader in combating this issue. We set strong standards for mitigating PFAS in drinking water, protected farmland from future contamination by banning the spreading of PFAS-contaminated sludge, and established a fund to help farmers deal with the financial and health issues associated with PFAS-contaminated farmland. Maine has already spent over $200 million to deal with this crisis, including funding to support impacted farmers, remediate contaminated wells, and improve testing and research.

Nationally, other states are following our lead. In 2023, Minnesota became the second state to ban all nonessential uses of PFAS and require that industry report PFAS uses to the state. Several other states are considering similar legislation, and many have already banned PFAS outright in several product categories. Here in the Northeast, states like Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and Maryland are also following our example.

Despite this progress, here in Maine we are seeing attempts to roll back the important elements of L.D. 1503 – particularly the reporting requirement for businesses. But data drives policy, and the reporting requirement is critical because we currently know some of the products that PFAS is used in, but not all.


Without this information, we can’t track what products containing PFAS are coming into Maine, determine if using PFAS is truly necessary for that product or begin to phase that product out, if necessary. Additionally, Mainers deserve to have this information publicly available, so consumers can make informed decisions on what they want to spend their money on. The public deserves to know what is in the products they are purchasing.

We keep hearing that this law is placing a burden on businesses, but what about the existing burden on Maine people? We know that PFAS exposure is harmful to human health and increases the risk of several cancers. So far, the state has identified more than 70 contaminated farms and over 400 contaminated residential wells with unsafe levels of PFAS. The state is still doing testing, so those numbers will likely only continue to rise – but what is already clear is that PFAS poses a significant risk to our farming economy, along with our food and water supply.

In the Legislature, we have been open to compromise around the reporting requirement provision of the law. Last session, we passed a bill to extend the original reporting deadline and put in place policies that make reporting easier for businesses. In its current form, the law should not be overly burdensome for businesses to comply with, and we will continue to work to ensure it remains feasible without weakening its important provisions.

Maine people have a right to know which companies are using these toxic chemicals in their products. We must continue to do all we can to protect the health and environment of all Mainers from PFAS – we simply can’t afford anything less.

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: