To read the full testimony delivered by Senior Attorney Sharon Treat neither for nor against of LD 2019, “An Act To Require the Registration of Adjuvants in the State and To Regulate the Distribution of Pesticides with Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances” before the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee on March 14, 2022, download a PDF of the testimony.
Senator Dill, Representative O’Neill and honorable members of the Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. 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 neither for nor against LD 2019, “An Act To Require the Registration of Adjuvants in the State and To Regulate the Distribution of Pesticides with Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances.” IATP is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota with offices in Hallowell, Maine and other locations. IATP works closely with farmers and seeks to promote local, sustainable and environmentally beneficial agriculture and trade policies.
IATP supports sections 2 and 3 of the bill, which define adjuvants as pesticides and would require registration and regulation of these substances by the Board of Pesticides Control. We also support Section 4, paragraph H, which immediately bans the sale or use of pesticides contaminated with PFAS; and Section 5, which clarifies the Board’s broad authority to regulate pesticide containers. These provisions carry out the original purpose of LD 264 which was enacted last year to better protect the public, farmers, and the environment from toxic Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS), whether from contamination of pesticides stored or sold in fluorinated containers, or from intentionally added PFAS in adjuvants and pesticide ingredients.
We cannot support the bill in its entirety, however. We strongly oppose Section 1 of the bill, which changes the definition of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) to be inconsistent with current state law; to exclude the majority of active pesticide ingredients containing PFAS from regulation; and to roll back protections previously enacted by the Legislature intended to “turn off the tap” of unnecessary PFAS use that has contaminated drinking water, soils, food and wildlife in Maine and elsewhere.
Since 2019, Maine law has defined PFAS as follows: "Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances" or "PFAS" means any member of the class of fluorinated organic chemicals containing at least one fully fluorinated carbon atom.” Three other Maine laws use this same definition, as do laws in at least nine states, and it is the definition recommended by the OECD.3 The consequence of changing the definition to require two, not one, fully fluorinated carbon atom will be to exclude many PFAS and pesticide ingredients from regulation by the Board of Pesticides Control (a fact specifically discussed by BPC staff at the February 25, 2022 board meeting), including the disclosure required by LD 264 and in proposed Chapter 20 BPC regulations, and the prohibition of sale and use in LD 2019 both for active, inert and adjuvant ingredients. This new PFAS definition injects confusion and uncertainty into the administration of PFAS policy by the State, reduces health and environmental protections, and is inconsistent with the intent of LD 264, which this committee bill is supposed to be further implementing.
To continue reading, please download a PDF of the testimony.