BDN reports on UMaine research about PFAS on farms

The Bangor Daily News featured a partnership between University of Maine researchers and Maine organic farmer Sue Hunter, whose land in Unity, Maine, is highly contaminated with toxic PFAS, to determine how much or how little specific crops absorb the toxins. The research is focusing on three specific areas — how PFAS are absorbed by forage crops, how the chemicals are absorbed by specific market crops and if the addition of charcoal-like substance to the soil could prevent the toxins from getting into the plants at all. “These projects are not similar to anything being done in Maine so far. There is research going elsewhere in the country, but it’s looking at the big commodity crops,” said Rachel Schattman, assistant professor of sustainable agriculture at the University of Maine School of Food and Agriculture. “Setting up an experimental condition with variable PFAS levels and past data collection like Hunter has on her farm would take millions of dollars and decades to create. “The property is perfectly suited to the types of questions that we need to ask and answer about PFAS,” said Diane Rowland, dean of the UMaine College of Natural Sciences, Forestry and Agriculture and director of the Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station.