In July 2021, Maine became the first government to ban PFAS in production by 2030. This ban is a landmark piece of legislation because it provides the first step for other states and countries to stop relying on synthetic chemicals in products.
What Are PFAS?
Per- and polyfluorinated substances (PFAS) are long-lasting chemicals consisting of components that break down over a very long period of time. Due to their slow breakdown process, they also have the nickname of “forever chemicals.” Manufacturers typically use these chemicals to make products water and stain-resistant. PFAS are found virtually everywhere due to their persistence in the environment.
You can find thousands of PFAS chemicals in different consumer, industrial and commercial products. Due to their widespread use in the environment and various industries, PFAS compounds are found in the blood of humans and animals worldwide and at low levels in food products. Though further research is still underway, there is evidence that PFAS are harmful to human health.
The vast amount of PFAS found all over makes it challenging to study and assess the potential health and environmental risks.
Why Maine Became the First Government to Ban PFAS
As research continues on PFAS, some studies have begun linking the chemicals to serious health problems like cancer, high cholesterol and more. Due to the health and environmental implications of PFAS, lawmakers in Maine have been deeply concerned about the application of chemicals in products. Following two dairies in Maine shutting down after finding high levels of PFAS in the milk because of cows consuming contaminated water and hay, Maine lawmakers started working with the Department of Environmental Protection to identify a solution.
It was determined that the best way to stop the spread of PFAS is to ban their use altogether, except in currently unavoidable situations. Per Maine PFAS legislation, any sale and distribution of products with PFAS intentionally added will be prohibited after January 1, 2030. The PFAS regulations also require manufacturers to report their use of intentional PFAS application in products to Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection beginning in 2023.
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