By Jenna McGuire
Maine on Thursday enacted a revolutionary law, prohibition the use of so-called âforever chemicalsâ in all products by 2030, except in cases deemed âcurrently unavoidableâ.
Maine is the first state in the United States and the first government in the world to implement a ban on the toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl chemicals, known as PFAS, which are known not to decompose easily in the environment and can remain in a person’s body for decades after exposure.
“I am proud to see Maine take action that will change the conversation about how PFAS are regulated, not only by addressing the whole class, but by creating the obligation to avoid these chemicals. persistent and toxic to the extent possible, âsaid Patrick MacRoy, deputy director of Stand Up For Our Health, a public health organization in Maine that coordinated with experts and community advocates to push through the bill .
Man-made chemicals can be found in soil, drinking water, air, food packaging, cosmetics, kitchenware, various household products and industrial workplaces, causing widespread exposure to humans and the environment.
A 2015 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) find PFAS present in 97% of the blood of Americans.
Democratic State House Representative Lori Gramlich who sponsored the bill, Told Reuters, “PFAS is at a critical level here in Maine – it’s in soil, groundwater, and household items, and it’s making people seriously ill.”
PFAS were associate with many health effects including low birth weight, liver and kidney disease, immune and reproductive system disturbances, and cancer.
Although the statewide ban does not take effect until January 2030, manufacturers will have to begin reporting the presence of PFAS chemicals in their products to the Maine Department of Environmental Quality from January 2023.
âThis policy sets a strong national precedent that sends a clear signal to the industry that we must move quickly towards safer chemistry and away from toxic chemicals like PFAS,â said Sarah Doll, National Director of Safer States, a public health advocacy group that advocates for stricter state-level PFAS legislation.
Maine has emerged as a climate leader, recently passing two more landmark environmental laws. In June, it became the first state to pass a bill requiring the government cession fossil fuels by 2026 and July 13 Gov. Janet Mills (D) sign a bill that shifted recycling costs from taxpayers to businesses, the first such bill in the country.
Republished with permission from Common dreams.