To download the full testimony in support of LD 164, “An Act to Establish Maximum Contaminant Levels under the State’s Drinking Water Rules for Certain Perflouroalkyl and Polyflouroalkyl Substances” and neither for nor against LD 129, “Resolve, To Protect Consumers of Public Drinking Water by Establishing Maximum Contaminant Levels for Certain Substances and Contaminants," please click here.
Senator Claxton, Representative Meyer, and honorable members of the Health and Human Services Committee. My name is Sharon Treat and I live in Hallowell. I am Senior Attorney for the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), on whose behalf I am testifying today in support of LD 164 and to offer additional information with respect to LD 129.
IATP is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota with offices in Hallowell, Maine and other locations. As an organization that works closely with farmers and seeks to promote local, sustainable and environmentally beneficial agriculture and healthy rural communities, IATP has a strong interest in preventing PFAS contamination of water and food, which has had a devastating impact on at least two Maine farms and their neighbors.
We support LD 164, which will immediately establish an enforceable 20 parts per trillion (ppt) Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for a group of six PFAS chemicals. This approach to PFAS regulation is also followed by Vermont and Massachusetts. While they differ in some particulars, most of the other states adopting PFAS standards over the past two years have likewise adopted MCLs that are well below the advisory health guidance of the Environmental Protection Agency, 70 ppt. LD 164 is also consistent with guidance from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the recommendation of the director of the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences.
For years, the federal government has dithered and delayed on PFAS regulation and failed to set an enforceable standard. This is despite known health problems linked to PFAS including kidney and testicular cancer, thyroid disease, infertility and compromised immune systems — which means PFAS exposure can make people more susceptible to COVID-19 health consequences and may limit the effectiveness of vaccines. Indeed, recent research has found a strong association with PFAS exposure and COVID-19 severity, antibody response, and asthma.
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