Mainers’ PFAS lawsuit progressing; experts discuss new regulations

Saturday Morning Maine
Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 10:39 PM EDT
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FAIRFIELD, Maine (WABI) - The fight for Mainers affected by toxic forever chemicals known as PFAS continues to unfold.

The legal team convened in Fairfield Friday night to update residents on the case.

The suit against polluters like DuPont, 3M and Huhtamaki remains in the discovery phase - but environmental investigator Bob Bowcock says progress is being made.

The EPA’s new proposed national standard of PFAS in drinking water sets a limit of 4 parts per trillion - a level even stricter than Maine’s interim standard of 20 parts per trillion.

Bowcock says Fairfield has perhaps the worst known levels of PFAS contamination in drinking water in the world - as high as thousands of parts per trillion - and it’s integral that small towns and public settings like schools aren’t relegated to the end of the line when it comes to testing.

”This is the fastest I’ve seen the federal government move on a chemical because of the health effects it’s actually causing,” Bowcock said.

“They start with the the larger populations, meaning the schools will be at the bottom of the list. When it comes to our children, they should be on the top of the list. And unfortunately, because of the way regulations are set, that’s going to be how it’s rolled out.

“That’s why we’re going to go back to the state and say, ‘OK, look - there’s a drinking water Maximum Contaminant Level - we should start with the most vulnerable, which are our children. Especially because it’s a bioaccumulating chemical, we want to keep it out of the kids.”

Environmental activist Erin Brockovich was expected to attend, but had to cancel while battling COVID and the flu.

She left a recorded message of her support for the Fairfield community and confidence in the legal team.

There is another town hall Saturday morning at 10 a.m. in Thorndike.