PFAS Task Force Recommendations Not Strong Enough: Statement
AUGUSTA – Governor Janet Mill’s PFAS Task Force on Tuesday released draft recommendations for tackling toxic PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) contaminating food, water, and farmland in Maine. The draft recommendations mark a good first step toward addressing this emerging public health crisis, but fall short of what is needed to protect public health and the environment, according to the Portland-based health advocacy group the Environmental Health Strategy Center.
Patrick MacRoy, deputy director of the Strategy Center, issued the following press statement:
“While there are many good recommendations in the draft report, it needs to be strengthened to fully protect Mainers’ health and the environment. There are several ways the task force can and must improve their recommendations before finalizing their report to the governor next month.
Most importantly, in order to detect any other farms polluted with PFAS by contaminated industrial and sewage sludge spread as fertilizer—which caused the devastating contamination of Stoneridge Farm in Arundel—the task force should explicitly recommend that DEP develop an investigation plan and timetable for testing all sites where sludge was spread.
The recommendations are also weak when it comes to protecting Maine’s food supply from these harmful chemicals. The task force should also recommend that the state establish a timetable to proactively test agricultural products for PFAS contamination, with a continued commitment to making sure that food with unsafe levels of PFAS as determined by the state does not reach market.
As a critical step toward protecting Maine families from drinking PFAS in their water or eating PFAS in their food, the task force should also recommend that Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) adopt Maine-specific health risk levels for all PFAS compounds with sufficient data, based on the best available science. Those risk values should inform the proposed adoption of a Maine drinking water standard for total PFAS, as well as other relevant environmental public health standards.
Finally, we call on the task force to review all eleven of our recommendations and take them into account for their final report.”
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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.