State officials have issued a “do not eat” advisory for deer taken by hunters in the Fairfield area in central Maine, due to high levels of PFAS chemicals detected in the animals.

The public advisory comes from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. It covers the town of Fairfield and sections of five surrounding communities: Waterville, Oakland, Smithfield, Norridgewock and Skowhegan.

Officials say multiple farm fields in this area were contaminated with high levels of PFAS through the spreading of municipal and/or industrial sludge for fertilizer that contained the toxic “forever chemicals.” Deer that are feeding in these contaminated areas have ingested these chemicals and PFAS have been detected in the organs and meat taken from the deer.

MDIFW

Poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have been used for decades in a variety of household and consumer products, including non-stick cookware, carpet, waterproof clothing, and food packaging products such as pizza boxes and microwave popcorn bags. Also known as “forever chemicals” since they do not break down, PFAS persist in the environment and are transferred into soil, water, plants and animals and pose a health risk if ingested.

Hunters who have already taken a deer in the area are advised not to eat it, and to dispose of the animal or meat in their trash or landfill.

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife will offer those who killed a deer in the advisory area an opportunity to take an additional deer in the 2022 hunting season. Hunters should call 207-287-8000 or email IFW.PFAS@maine.gov for more information.

To learn more specific details about the advisory, click here.