Maine Regulators Take First Step Toward Replacing Toxic ‘Forever Chemicals’ with Safer Alternatives: Statement

Environmental Health Strategy Center
News Releases

PORTLAND, Maine—The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has issued a proposal to designate toxic PFOS (a kind of PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance) a priority chemical and require disclosure of its use in multiple product categories, the Portland Press Herald reported today.

In response, Mike Belliveau, executive director of the Portland-based Environmental Health Strategy Center, issued the following statement:

“We applaud Maine regulators for taking this important first step on the path toward replacing all toxic PFAS with safer alternatives, which would help protect the health of current and future generations of Mainers. Maine people have a right to know which everyday products contain dangerous chemicals like PFOS—or other chemicals that degrade into PFOS over time.

This highly toxic chemical has widely contaminated food, soil, and drinking water around the world. These so-called forever chemicals never break down in the environment, and Maine is currently facing its own problems with PFAS contamination. PFOS and related chemicals that generate PFOS are still manufactured abroad, and can come back to haunt us in imported products, like clothing and footwear. 

Maine DEP’s proposed rule will force product manufacturers to disclose ongoing use of PFOS, including in imported products sold in Maine. With that information in hand, we can target those uses for replacement with safer alternatives. We look forward to future actions by the state of Maine to force disclosure and require safer alternatives for all forever chemicals.”

PFAS are the headline-generating group of chemicals that have contaminated drinking water in multiple states, and ruined a dairy farm in Arundel, Maine where unsafe levels of PFAS were repeatedly found in cows’ milk, drinking water, and hay fields.

PFAS persist in human bodies and the environment for years and even decades. They are so ubiquitous that over 97 percent of Americans have PFAS in their bloodstream—including newborn babies.

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 works for a world where all people are healthy and thriving, with equal access to safe food and drinking water, and products that are toxic-free and climate-friendly.