Here’s a roundup of what we know so far about “forever chemicals” in Maine.
What are PFAS?
Officially known as perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, PFAS are a class of toxic substances that are found in a multitude of substances. They are not easily broken down in either the environment or human body — which earned them the name “forever chemicals” — and research has linked PFAS to adverse health affects.
PFAS were used in the United States throughout the 20th century to provide nonstick coatings for cookware, to protect carpeting and upholstery and to waterproof clothing, among other uses. The chemicals have also been used in food packaging, and have been detected in sludge and septage waste and drinking water.
Currently, Maine allows 20 parts per trillion of PFAS chemicals in drinking or well water