ADVERTISEMENT

Hunt for toxic ‘forever chemicals’ widens to 34 communities

December 16, 2021 GMT

FAIRFIELD, Maine (AP) — Thirty-four communities across Maine will be tested for environmental pollutants associated with serious health conditions, after the so-called “forever chemicals” were found in chicken eggs and deer meat harvested in the Fairfield area.

The state’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention hasn’t said the exact sites that will be tested, but they include Westbrook, Windham, Gorham, Auburn and Skowhegan, The Portland Press Herald reported Tuesday.

In addition to Fairfield, testing is already taking place in Leeds, Presque Isle, Chelsea, Unity Township, Benton, Bowdoinham and Knox, the newspaper reported.

ADVERTISEMENT

These per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, are used in products like nonstick cookware, carpets, firefighting foam and fast-food wrappers.

Authorities are working to understand how these chemicals make their way through the ecosystem and into the water and food supply after farmers spread municipal and industrial sludge that contained the chemicals as fertilizer.

State CDC toxicologist Dr. Andrew Smith urged Mainers not to overreact to the reports of PFAS in eggs at two homesteads in Fairfield, the newspaper reported.

“Everywhere we’ve worked so far are places where this is a known source that’s resulted in water that’s fairly high” in contamination, Smith said.

In October, the Environmental Protection Agency unveiled a broad new strategy to regulate PFAS, which have been associated with serious health conditions, including cancer and reduced birth weight.