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March 19, 2019

Maine Dairy Farmers Find PFAS In Their Milk, Again

 |  By: Anna-Lisa Laca

In 2016 Maine dairy farmer Fred Stone discovered his milk was tainted with perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). In fact, the levels of the chemicals in his milk were so high that his buyer stopped taking his milk. He didn’t give up, instead he installed a water treatment facility and bought new cows. He thought he had survived the issue, until recently when the chemicals started showing up again.

 

The rediscovery of PFAS at Stone’s farm, who for decades participated in a sewer sludge spreading program, has Maine Governor Janet Mills launching a task force to see the extent of the issue.

 

“Staff has been specifically working on identifying farms statewide that may have received sludge and identifying the original source,” department spokesman David Madore said in a statement to Reuters.

 

The Stones started spreading treated sewage in the 1980s as part of a state program that would help utilities get rid of the waste and fertilize pastures, according to Reuters.

 

The initial detection of PFAS on their farm was discovered when a well on the property tested positive. Additional tests found high levels of PFAS in Stoneridge’s milk, soil, hay, and cow manure, Reuters reports. The areas of highest soil contamination overlapped with where the sewer district sludge had been heaped, Stone told Reuters.

 

Sludge spreading programs are active in 50 states, according to the EPA. Still, Alan Berga of the National Milk Producers Federation says they consider this an isolated case.

 

“We see no wide threat to the milk supply,” he said.

 

There is no federal regulation or recommended guidelines on PFAS in milk. For more information about the decades old “forever” chemicals visit our PFAS resource center at www.milkbusiness.com/PFAS.

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