State regulators have taken a central Maine dairy farm off line after discovering levels of a contaminant as high as 10,000 times the actionable limit.
The Department of Agriculture said samples taken in June and early July showed the high levels of Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid, or PFOS — a class of substances found in flame retardants, Teflon and other products that is associated with a broad array of health problems such as infertility, thyroid disease and low birth rates. They are sometimes called forever chemicals.
But Nancy McBrady, who directs the state’s milk-testing program, said milk from the farm that went to market was blended with a very large amount of uncontaminated milk, so general consumers were not exposed to toxin levels above the “action threshold.”
“Right now we want to be sure the family itself is going to be okay too,” she said.
McBrady said the toxin levels found were “startling,” but that the agency is confident that the rest of the state’s milk supply is safe. The state continues to investigate possible sources of contamination at the farm, such as animal feed or field sludge.
McBrady declined to give the exact location of the farm or provide the owner’s name.