In this Aug. 15, 2019 photo, hay dries after a recent cut at Stoneridge Farm in Arundel, Maine. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / BDN

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The recent discovery of forever chemicals commonly known as PFAS at a few farms in Maine is a sad situation and I feel for the families involved. But the knee-jerk overreaction by some members of the Legislature to the situation has been troubling.

The chemicals found at these farms were the result of contaminated biosolids and sludge spread decades ago. Now, a new proposed bill would ban the spread of all biosolids and sludge and some forms of compost, mandating them to be dumped in landfills across the state.

I’m not a soil scientist but I’ve dealt with soil all my life and I’ve never been in favor of any mandates or bans of any kind. I think people should have a choice. Decades ago, the existence of forever chemicals was unknown. Materials used today are safe and monitored. Farmers are going to need this type of product on their fields to survive.

There must be some sort of compromise that can be reached, one that sets standards on the levels of PFAS found in these products while allowing the use of the products critical to farmers, nurseries, and garden centers around the state.

The bill as it stands now may force many local businesses to shut down and will put others at a competitive disadvantage. We need to work together to find a solution that is fair to all.

Rep. Peter Lyford