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Maine Dairy Farmer’s Blood Contains Toxic Chemical 25 Times Higher than National Average: Statement

Environmental Health Strategy Center
08.15.2019
Category:
News Releases

Test results show farmers bear body burden when toxic PFAS in consumer products
end up in sewage sludge used as fertilizer

PORTLAND, Maine, August 15, 2019—Dairy farmer Fred Stone in Arundel, Maine, reported today that blood tests showed his body contains extraordinarily high levels of PFOS. Stone’s farm and livelihood has been devastated by toxic PFOS, a kind of PFAS (per- and polyfluorinated substances), as a result of state-sanctioned spreading of contaminated sludge as fertilizer.

Patrick MacRoy, deputy director of the Portland-based Environmental Health Strategy Center, issued the following statement in response:

“These alarming blood test results demonstrate that it’s not only consumers of Maine dairy and fresh farm food with cause for concern—it means that when our farmers are working contaminated land, their bodies bear the toxic burden.

The state of Maine must stop the spreading of contaminated sewage sludge immediately. Data collected by the state shows that over three quarters of samples from fields willing to accept sludge already contain such high levels of PFAS that no more contaminated sludge can be applied. The state must also do more to test agricultural products from land with a history of sludge application to ensure the safety of our food supply.

We already know that Fred Stone is not the only dairy farmer impacted by PFAS contamination. Art Schaap, the dairy farmer in New Mexico whose farm was also devastated by PFAS contamination, has reported that the PFAS levels in his blood are extremely high, too.

Furthermore, the chemical companies that manufacture and rake in billions of dollars in sales from PFAS should immediately stop making these chemicals, fund the clean-up of contaminated land in Maine, and pay the healthcare costs of those, like the Stones, who are suffering the impacts of PFAS exposure.

It should go without saying that the people who grow and raise our food shouldn’t have to suffer from chemical contamination of their land and bodies while the chemical industry promotes and profits from the use of these toxic substances in so many consumer products.”

Exposure to PFAS is linked to immune system impairments, liver and kidney damage, and several cancers.

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The Environmental Health Strategy Center is a Maine-based 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.ourhealthyfuture.org for more.