Download a PDF of the testimony of Sharon Treat, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy in support of LD 1505, "An Act To Restrict the Use of Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances in Firefighting Foam" 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 1505, "An Act To Restrict the Use of Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances in Firefighting Foam".
IATP is a 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 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.
A major source of high levels of contamination of groundwater, drinking water, and soils both in Maine and nationally is PFAS in AFFF foam used to fight fires and in firefighter training exercises. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection has collected significant data indicating that use of this foam on military bases and by fire departments across the state has contaminated soils, fish and water.1 Once contamination occurs, remediation choices are limited both by ineffectiveness and high cost, and also risk simply transferring these “forever chemicals” from one media to another, e.g., from soils or sludge to air transport and deposition after incineration.
We strongly support LD 1505 which will phase out use of PFAS in firefighting foam except where required by federal law or regulation. Colorado, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York and Washington State have all banned PFAS in firefighting foam, as has most of the European Union and United Kingdom. Michigan bans use for training purposes. Several other states are considering bans.2 Viable alternatives that meet international aviation and marine standards are already on the market. As of April 2019, there were more than 100 fluorine-free foams available from 24 manufacturers.3
To continue reading the testimony and footnotes, please click here.