AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine lawmakers are going to consider more funding to fight “forever chemicals” as more farms discover contamination.

Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances — known as PFAS — have been found in hundreds of farm sites where sludge or papermaking waste containing the toxins was spread. PFAS are also being found in wells and landfills.

PFAS are often described as forever chemicals because some don’t degrade naturally and are believed capable of lingering indefinitely in the environment.

The chemicals are linked to cancer and other health problems, and Gov. Janet Mills is proposing to add another $9 million into fighting the contamination, with more than a third going to improved testing.

The proposed additional funding contained in the governor’s supplemental budget is on top of $30 million already dedicated to testing and mitigation efforts, the Bangor Daily News reported.

The funding follows state officials’ estimates that it could cost tens of millions of dollars a year to detect and remediate contamination.


A diverse group of interests from environmentalists to sportspeople have called for an ambitious state response to the problem.

The additional funding included in the governor’s supplemental budget would help abate PFAS hazards, support research and purchase testing equipment. The state would also create five new agricultural bureau positions and three at the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine — a group organized to be an advocate for hunters, anglers, trappers and gun owners — was one of the key interest groups lobbying for PFAS mitigation funding to understand the scope of the problem and to allow the state to be at the forefront of mitigation, said David Trahan, the group’s executive director.

“I think Maine’s positioned now to be ahead of the other states that are just figuring out that they’ve got a real problem,” he said.

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