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Action Needed on Toxic Chemicals that Threaten Public Health and the Environment

Environmental Health Strategy Center
03.06.2019
Category:
News Releases

For Immediate Release: March 6, 2019                                                              

Action Needed on Toxic Chemicals that Threaten Public Health and the Environment

In response to an Executive Order issued today by Governor Janet Mills to create a Task Force to investigate and prevent toxic pollution from extremely persistent toxic chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), the Environmental Health Strategy Center released the following statement from Michael Belliveau, Executive Director:

“We applaud Governor Mills for taking swift action to stem this serious threat to public health and Maine’s environment.

It’s tragic that some Mainers were exposed for years to unsafe levels of these so-called ‘forever chemicals’ in drinking water and milk without their knowledge or consent.

This is likely the tip of the toxic iceberg, since all sources have not been fully investigated.

Known sources of PFAS contamination of drinking water include spreading of industrial and sewage sludge on farmlands, and the use of firefighting foam at former military bases.

This same class of chemicals is still used in grease-resistant food packaging and stain-resistant carpets, despite growing scientific concerns about their environmental impacts.

We urge the Governor’s Task Force to take a three-pronged approach to solve this threat:

  1. Find and halt all ongoing sources of PFAS pollution of farms and drinking water;
  2. Ensure that all current sludge spreading meets strict safety standards for PFAS; and
  3. Phase-out all ongoing uses of PFAS in food packaging and consumer products.

We look forward to working with the Governor’s Task Force to take swift action to prevent more human exposure and environmental contamination from PFAS pollution in Maine.”

Additional Resources:

Known PFAS contamination sites: https://pfasproject.com/contamination-site-profiles/

Federal agency guidance on PFAS and Health:  https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/pfas/index.html

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The ​Environmental​ Health Strategy Center is a nonprofit organization that aims to ensure that all people are healthy and thriving in a safe environment. We work so that everyone has access to safe food and drinking water, and toxic-free, climate-friendly products. Visit www.ourhealthfuture.org for more.