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Legislation would require bottled water to be tested, labeled for PFAS contamination

Maine Public

New legislation would require Maine's water bottling companies to monitor for PFAS chemicals and label any PFAS contaminants in each bottle.

The Legislature's Health and Human Services Committee heard testimony Friday on two bills that would add new regulations on companies such as Poland Spring.

One measure would require bottled water producers to test for several PFAS contaminants, and would prohibit the sale of any water with levels exceeding state and federal standards.

Another bill would mandate that companies add labels to their bottles indicating the water's source and the level of PFAS contaminants inside.

Democratic Representative Lori Gramlich, who sponsored the labeling bill, says Maine consumers should feel confident that their drinking water is safe.

"The public has a right to know that the bottled water they're either choosing or needing to consume is free from the harmful chemicals. Free from PFAS," Gramlich said.

Liz Donohue, of Poland Spring's parent company Blue Triton, says monitoring is already in place for PFAS.

Donohue says that while the company supports strict standards for the chemicals, the proposed labeling requirements are unworkable, impractical, and already under the jurisdiction of the U.S. FDA.

"Given the requirements in transparency, we believe the labelling provisions are an unnecessary overreach," Donohue said.

The Maine Center for Disease Control supports the legislation and says it plans to include PFAS monitoring requirements for water bottlers in future rulemaking.

But the agency acknowledged the difficulty of implementing the labeling rules, and instead suggested adding a link or QR code on each bottle with information on water testing results.