Pat Elder Submitted photo

Friends of Merrymeeting Bay’s first presentation of its 26th annual Winter Speaker Series, “Forever Chemicals are Everywhere!” is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 12.

The talk features Pat Elder, director of Military Poisons. Series presentations are again being held via Zoom and are accessible via hyperlink at the top of fomb.org.

PFAS chemicals are widely used, long lasting per-and polyfluoroalkyl synthetic organofluorine chemical compounds that have multiple fluorine atoms attached to an alkyl chain and that break down very slowly over time (hence the name “Forever Chemicals”). Many of them have been linked to harmful health effects in humans and animals. There are thousands of PFAS chemicals, and they are found in many different consumer, commercial, and industrial products, according to a news release from Ed Friedman, Friends chair.

In Maine, widespread sludge spreading over many years has distributed PFAS toxins over wide areas of the state, contaminating livestock and wildlife. Because of their widespread use and their persistence in the environment, many PFAS compounds are found in the blood of people and animals all over the world and are present at low levels in a variety of food products and in the environment. Because of their prevalence, PFAS chemicals might also be termed “everywhere” chemicals.

Military Poisons is an organization drawing public attention to the role played by the military in contaminating the environment and threatening health. His focus has been on PFAS. He has been working with groups in various states to test surface waters flowing out of military bases for PFAS. He will address the strong correlation between the levels of the carcinogens in the water and those found in seafood.

Friends hosts its winter speaker series from October to May, the second Wednesday of each month. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the series continues via Zoom.

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The Nov. 9 presentation, “Shimmering Shad & Splashing Sturgeon,” will feature Bowdoin College Biology & Environmental Studies Professor Emeritus John Lichter and International Student Renske Kerkhofs. This event also takes place at 7 p.m. with the Zoom access link available on the Friends website about a week prior to the presentation.

Speaker series presentations are free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Friends at 207-666-3372 or [email protected].

 

 

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