The State House in Augusta stands out against a blue sky in this Jan. 20, 2021, file photo. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

PORTLAND, Maine — A Maine legislative committee has voted unanimously to require manufacturers to notify state environmental regulators about products containing chemicals known as perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS and to ban the sale of carpeting and fabric treatment containing the “forever chemicals.”

The Legislature’s Environmental and Natural Resources Committee voted to endorse the bill nearly an hour before Gov. Janet Mills proposed committing $40 million to test, manage and respond to PFAS contamination, the Portland Press Herald reported.

“It’s just stunning to me just how much cost and pain we’ve inflicted on so many people around the state,” said Sen. Rick Bennett, R-Oxford, in reference to state-sanctioned sludge reuse program linked to PFAS contamination. “I think we have a moral obligation to deal with this as state officials. And I think the DEP has a moral obligation, frankly, to do this as aggressively as possible.”

If approved by the full Legislature and signed by Mills, Maine would join a handful of other states attempting to reduce the use of products containing PFAS in an attempt to avoid future contamination.

PFAS substances are a class of thousands of chemicals that are used in products such as nonstick cookware, water- or stain-resistant textiles, grease-resistant food packaging and firefighting foam.