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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 1388. IATP is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota with offices in Hallowell, Maine and other locations. We work closely with farmers 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 economic impact on at least two Maine farms, polluted water near sewage and industrial sludge spreading sites, air force bases, and landfills; and shown up in schools, day cares and other drinking water systems. Failure to act promptly to regulate this contaminant threatens the health of both Maine residents and visitors to “Vacationland”.
This committee has previously heard testimony concerning two other PFAS bills, LD 164 to establish an enforceable 20 parts per trillion (ppt) Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for a group of six PFAS chemicals, and LD 129, which would establish monitoring, reporting, treatment and enforcement provisions as well as a process for setting MCLs in the future. We prefer the legislation before you today, LD 1388, to either of the previous PFAS bills, since it comprehensively addresses PFAS contamination of drinking water. LD 1388 both sets a health protective maximum contaminant level of 20 parts per trillion/20 nanograms per liter for a group of six PFAS chemicals, and includes necessary language for testing, disclosure and enforcement as well as future action. The “sum of six” approach to PFAS regulation is already 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, that the Maine Department of Environmental Protection currently uses for guidance. LD 1388 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.
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