Read the full article by Pete Warner (Bangor Daily News)
“When a ‘do not eat’ advisory was issued last week for deer killed in Fairfield, Alex Poulin was not the least bit surprised.
Poulin has extended family in the Somerset County town, where the presence of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in well water — resulting from the use of waste sludge on farm fields — was discovered in September 2020 by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.
‘My grandmother was one of the first ones to have her well tested,’ said Poulin, who also lives in Fairfield. ‘She’s been drinking that water for 18 years and hers was almost 100 times higher [in PFAS] than the recommended limit.’
For several years, Poulin routinely hunted deer from the affected area. This fall, he did his hunting elsewhere.
More than 500 deer were harvested from 2016-20 in Fairfield alone, according to Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife data. But last week’s revelation that high levels of PFAS were found in Fairfield deer dealt a blow to Poulin, who hunted local deer to provide healthy food for his family only to find out they were tainted by so-called forever chemicals.
Exposure to high levels of PFAS may impact the immune system and reduce antibody responses to vaccines, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Studies have found the chemicals also may lead to increased risk of cancer and high blood pressure or pre-eclampsia in pregnant women and small decreases in infant birth weights.
‘I’ve been thinking about, my family’s been eating that deer. Could it be contaminated with the [PFAS]?’ Poulin said. ‘I’ve got a 4-year-old son. He loves his deer meat. Have I been giving him something that could potentially harm him?’
He is saddened that the discovery of high levels of PFAS, and the recommendations to not eat the meat and to dispose of it, means people won’t have venison this year and that the deers’ lives were taken in vain.
Poulin was even compelled to throw out some of his own uneaten venison from 2019 and 2020 because those deer came from Fairfield.”…