The Maine Department of Environmental Protection announced Friday that it will require new testing for all sludge material licensed for land application in the state.
The tests will look for several synthetic contaminants known as PFAS, which are found in a range of consumer products. PFAS have been linked to cancer and other health problems.
David Burns with Maine DEP says that while PFAS have been phased out in the United States, they are still around and being imported from other countries.
“They come from a variety of sources, and they end up getting concentrated in the sludge,” he says. “PFAS compounds are in everyday compounds that all of us use.”
This week a farmer in Arundel announced that milk from his cows was contaminated with the hormone-disrupting chemicals that came from treated industrial and wastewater sludge he had spread on his field for years. He's had to stop selling his milk.
Earlier this month, Governor Janet Mills signed an executive order to study the prevalence of PFAS in Maine.