ORONO — The Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions at the University of Maine is scheduled to host a talk on PFAS, also known as “forever chemicals,” and the PFAS crisis in Maine at 3 p.m. Monday, April 4, both remotely via Zoom and in person at 107 Norman Smith Hall on the UMaine campus.

PFAS, a group of thousands of chemicals with the ability to repel both water and oil, have been used in commercial and consumer products for more than 60 years, yet research on their toxicity and persistence in the environment has only been published in the past two decades, according to a news release from the university.

Today in Maine, PFAS contamination has closed multiple farms and contaminated soils, well water, food and wildlife. The scope of the crisis continues to grow, and the state is mounting a multimillion-dollar, ongoing response.

In this talk, “The Forever Chemicals: PFAS in Maine — What they are, where they come from and what can we do about them,” members of the Mitchell Center’s PFAS Research Initiative will give a tour of PFAS chemistry, the history of these chemicals in Maine, what Maine people know about them and the search for solutions.

The PFAS Research Initiative team brings together expertise in environmental engineering, wastewater management, data science, economics, communication and wildlife ecology to address PFAS in Maine. They work closely with diverse stakeholders from state agencies, the agricultural community, public health advocates, the wastewater treatment industry and other sectors. Their research has included an assessment of the environmental, economic and social aspects of management options for PFAS-contaminated wastewater sludge.

Members of the team also plan to present a session on PFAS at the Maine Sustainability & Water Conference on Thursday, March 31 at the Augusta Civic Center.

All talks in the Mitchell Center’s Sustainability Talks series are free, registration is required to attend remotely via Zoom; to register and receive connection information, visit umaine.edu.

Face coverings are required for all people when indoors at a University of Maine System facility. For the latest health and safety guidance, visit umaine.edu/return.

Updates for this event will be posted to the event webpage. To request a reasonable accommodation, contact Ruth Hallsworth at 207-581-3196 or hallsworth@maine.edu.

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