Lawmakers want feds to help farms tackle ‘forever chemicals’

March 15, 2022 GMT

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine’s congressional delegation wants the federal government to help farmers in the state cope with the growing problem of managing long-lasting chemical contamination.

The four lawmakers on Monday called on U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to make resources available to respond to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance contamination, or PFAS contamination. The substances are sometimes called “forever chemicals.” Maine authorities are trying to sample, treat, remediate and monitor the chemicals in the state.

The lawmakers said in a statement to Vilsack that the substances are “increasingly being found in soil, water, animal feed, crops and livestock on Maine’s farms.” They said USDA can help farmers with options such as loans and emergency assistance.

Exposure to high levels of the chemicals have been linked to increased risks of cancer and other chronic health problems.