In the absence of effective federal regulation, state governments are struggling to address widespread Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) contamination of water, soils and food. PFAS are a group of man-made chemicals, including PFOA, PFOS, GenX and many other chemicals, that are especially persistent in the environment. These “forever chemicals” bioaccumulate in both humans and farm animals, and human exposure to certain PFAS may affect growth, learning and behavior of infants and children, cause endocrine disruption, increase the risk of cancer and have other health impacts. PFAS are ubiquitous in consumer products, including food packaging, clothing, floor and car waxes and non-stick cookware, and are also commonly used in firefighting foam.
Since 2019, led by our Senior Attorney Sharon Treat, IATP has worked on PFAS policy. We have focused particularly on legislative and regulatory measures in Maine to protect public health and to clean up and prevent contamination caused by sewage sludge and compost used as agricultural fertilizer.