Download a PDF of the full testimony of Sharon Treat, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, in support of Maine LD 1503, “An Act to Stop Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances Pollution" to be delivered on May 3, 2021.
Good morning Senator Brenner, Representative Tucker, and honorable members of the Environment and Natural Resources 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 1503, “An Act to Stop Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances Pollution".
IATP is a nonprofit headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota with offices in Hallowell, Maine and other locations.1 We work closely with farmers to promote local, sustainable and environmentally beneficial agriculture and trade. For the past two years, as PFAS has increasingly been found to have contaminated food and farms, we have been advocating for measures to investigate and remediate PFAS. Equally important is to “turn off the tap” to stop PFAS at the source and hold manufacturers accountable.
LD 1503 is important legislation that takes a reasoned, deliberate and science-supported approach to phasing out the use of Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances in products where that use is not essential for health, safety or the functioning of society and for which alternatives are not reasonably available. This approach is based on the example of the Montreal Protocol, which phased out the use of ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons except for certain ‘essential’ uses, and which defined the concept of ‘essential use’ in Decision IV/25.19.2
By focusing the ban in the first instance on carpets and fabric, the legislation targets products where PFAS is known to be present and for which there are safe alternatives. The legislation phases in the ban on PFAS in other products through a rulemaking process, prioritizing those products most likely to cause contamination of land or water resources. The notification and disclosure provisions, requiring manufacturers to disclose the presence and amount of PFAS in their products, are necessary to ensure compliance, and are also critical to reducing this pollutant at the source. You can’t prevent contamination and identify potential sources of pollution if you don’t know where it is, and as a consumer, you can’t avoid PFAS-containing products unless the manufacturer reveals that information. LD 1503 also has important provisions intended to provide educational and financial support to Maine municipalities and treatment works to reduce PFAS at the source. This program should be funded with fees on manufacturers authorized in the bill. To date Maine taxpayers and ratepayers of publicly owned treatment works and water utilities have borne the brunt of the costs of this extraordinarily pervasive contaminant. It is time for manufacturers to start paying for the costs of their pollution, and help transition to a PFAS-free future.
To continue reading the testimony and footnotes, please click here.