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Maine Dairy Farm Poisoned by Toxic Chemicals Spurs Health Advocates’ Ask for Federal Action

Environmental Health Strategy Center
03.27.2019

U.S. Senate Committee to Hold Hearing Tomorrow on ‘Forever Chemicals’

PORTLAND, Maine, March 27, 2019—In advance of a federal hearing tomorrow, health advocates are urging federal investigation to determine if toxic PFAS chemicals in sewage sludge spread as fertilizer are contaminating farmland, agriculture products, and drinking water nationwide.

A hearing by the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works will begin 10 a.m., Thursday, March 28 to examine the federal response to the risks associated with PFAS chemicals (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances).

Last week, a dairy farmer in Arundel, Maine went public about his milk contaminated by toxic PFAS from sludge spread as a field fertilizer from the late 1980s until 2004.

In a letter, the Environmental Health Strategy Center urged the Committee to examine the potential for widespread PFAS contamination of farmland, agricultural products such as milk, and drinking water, resulting from the common practice of spreading sewage sludge on farmland as a fertilizer.

Read the Strategy Center’s full letter to the Committee here.

Strong science shows PFAS increases the risk of some cancers, may lower a woman’s chance of getting pregnant, and is associated with liver problems and increased cholesterol levels.

Thursday’s hearing comes amid increasing news of PFAS contamination in drinking water, soil, and, recently, milk. 

Just last week in Arundel, Maine, dairy farmer Fred Stone described the devastating consequences to his farm and livelihood from PFAS-contaminated sewage sludge—promoted as a fertilizer and spread on farms in all 50 states—which resulted in the highest level of the so-called “forever chemicals” ever found in milk. Health advocates, including the Strategy Center, demanded state action.

In response, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection promised to test sewage sludge for PFAS contamination. However, the federal government has thus far failed to examine sewage sludge spread on farm fields as a potential source of widespread PFAS contamination.

The hearing is entitled “Examining the federal response to the risks associated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).” Watch the full hearing Thursday at 10 a.m. ET here: https://www.epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2019/3/examining-the-federal-response- to-the-risks-associated-with-per-and-polyfluoroalkyl-substances-pfas

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The Environmental Health Strategy Center is a nonprofit organization that works for a world where all people are healthy and thriving in a safe environment. Everyone deserves access to safe food and drinking water, and toxic-free, climate-friendly products. Visit www.ourhealthfuture.org for more information.