Berman & Simmons Represents Arundel Dairy Farmers in First Maine Case Involving PFAS Contamination

Berman & Simmons represents Fred and Laura Stone and Stoneridge Farm in claims relating to the contamination of their Arundel dairy farm with poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) chemicals. Stoneridge Farm has been operated as a family-owned dairy farm for more than 100 years. Recent testing revealed high levels of PFOS and PFOA (specific types of PFAS chemicals) in the drinking water, soil, and cow milk at the farm. In fact, PFAS in the Stone’s cow milk were found to be the highest levels recorded to date anywhere in the world. As a result of the contamination, the Stones have been forced to close down their dairy operations and are at great risk of losing their livelihood and family business.

The contamination of Stoneridge Farm likely resulted from the spreading of sludge on the farm as far back as the 1980s. Beginning around that time, many farms in Maine accepted industrial (paper mill) and municipal sludge as an additive to the soil. Farmers were promised that the sludge was safe and contained no contaminants or hazardous chemicals. The government encouraged the spreading of sludge as a mechanism to dispose of solid waste without incurring the cost of placing it in landfills.

Unfortunately, the sludge contained high levels of PFAS. These toxic chemicals are hazardous contaminants that do not degrade over time and continue to persist for decades or more. Exposure to them puts farmers, livestock, and consumers of agricultural products at great health risk.

The companies that manufactured and sold these chemicals were aware of the hazards but concealed that information from the public. These companies are now facing lawsuits in many states over their fraud and misrepresentation relating to the sale of these chemicals.

To date, the Stoneridge Farm case is the only case involving PFAS contamination that has ever been filed in the State of Maine. Berman & Simmons is leading the way to represent farmers, water districts and anyone else who has been harmed by PFAS exposure. A team of attorneys at Berman & Simmons is working with leading experts in the field to conduct additional investigation and testing to better determine the scope of the problem in Maine and other parts of Northern New England.