In this June 18, 2018 file photo, equipment used to test for perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known collectively as PFAS, in drinking water is seen at Trident Laboratories in Holland, Mich. The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to announce a plan for dealing with a class of long-lasting chemical contaminants amid complaints from members of Congress and environmentalists that it's not moved aggressively enough to regulate them. Credit: Cory Morse

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The recent article in the Bangor Daily News about growing pressure to remove PFAS from food packaging noted commitments from major companies and state laws. But this just begs the question of why Congress hasn’t addressed this issue federally.

These “forever chemicals” should be nowhere near our food or drinking water. They’re linked to cancer and other serious health problems. Here in Maine we have seen how they can even destroy family farms.

But manufacturers have been putting them in food packaging for decades. These chemicals take a long time to break down, so a landfilled burger wrapper from a decade ago could still be polluting the environment.

In 2019, Maine’s Legislature passed a bill to ban PFAS from food packaging here. But the issue of PFAS must be addressed nationwide. Pollution doesn’t stay within state lines.

There is a bill in Congress with bipartisan support to solve this problem – the Keep Food Containers Safe From PFAS Act (H.R. 6026 and S. 3169). Maine’s congressional delegation – especially Sen. Susan Collins who is on the Senate committee with jurisdiction over the bill – needs to step up and help ensure the federal government catches up with where Maine already is at.

Mark Hyland