In this Dec. 20, 2020, file photo, Attorney General Aaron Frey waves to state senators at the Augusta Civic Center. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

Maine’s attorney general is seeking proposals from law firms willing to assist with potential legal claims over chemical contamination in the state.

The state is considering legal claims over so-called PCBs and a separate class known as PFAS. Both chemicals have been used in industrial applications over the years. PCBs are a known carcinogen while PFAS are a possible carcinogen, officials said.

“It is important to hold manufacturers of these chemicals accountable for contamination they are responsible for. This is an important first step in that process,” Attorney General Aaron Frey said.

PCBs are still found in products manufactured before 1979, such as window caulking, floor finishes, thermal insulation, and electrical equipment.

PFAS have been manufactured for use in a wide variety of products since the 1940s, including nonstick cookware, firefighting foam, and textiles.

In 2020, a task force established by Gov. Janet Mills recommended accelerated PFAS sampling and that the attorney general consider legal options to address PFAS contamination.

Over the next two years, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection plans to sample approximately 700 additional locations, and in January 2023 will begin receiving reports of PFAS use in products sold in Maine pursuant to a new state law.