Arundel, Maine – August 15, 2019 — Blood tests for Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) performed on Fred and Laura Stone, the owners of the family dairy farm in Arundel, Maine, which was shut down due to PFAS contamination, has revealed significantly elevated levels of PFAS in their blood.
Previous testing at the Stone property revealed high levels of one type of PFAS compound, perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), in the drinking water, soil, hay and cow milk. PFAS are a class of synthetic chemicals that never biodegrade in the environment, earning them a colloquial label of “forever chemicals.” As a result of this contamination, the Stones have been forced to discontinue selling their milk and have had to shut down operations at their farm. The loss of their business has been emotionally and financially devastating.
“When the contamination was discovered at the farm, we assumed that it must have gotten inside of our bodies, because we have been drinking the water and milk for many years,” Fred Stone said. “These blood test results add injury to insult. First, it was our farm, then it was our cows and now it’s us? When will this nightmare end?”
On June 11, 2019, blood samples were drawn by the Stones’ physician and sent to a laboratory in California. The test results, which returned just recently, show that Fred Stone’s blood contains PFOS levels of 111 parts per billion. Laura Stone’s blood contains PFOS levels of 93.5 parts per billion.
According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a program conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average American has approximately 4.7 parts per billion of PFOS in their blood. Fred and Laura’s levels are approximately twenty times higher than the national average. Moreover, since installing a water filtration system and discontinuing milk production, the Stones have not consumed the contaminated water and milk. This means that the levels of PFOS in their blood likely were considerably higher in the past when they were actively drinking the water and milk for decades after the spread of the contaminated sludge on their property.
Various studies and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have found that exposure to elevated PFOS levels may cause serious health problems, including cancer, damage to the liver and immune systems, developmental effects to fetuses during pregnancy or to breastfed infants, thyroid conditions and high cholesterol.
“Fred and Laura face a lifetime of negative health consequences,” said their attorney, Benjamin Gideon of Berman & Simmons, who, along with his partner, attorney Susan Faunce, represents the Stones and Stoneridge Farm in a lawsuit filed in York County, Maine, against the manufacturers of the PFAS substances, including 3M and Dupont, and those responsible for spreading the contaminated sludge on the Stone farm.
“We expected that the Stones would have elevated PFAS levels in their blood, but these numbers are shocking, particularly given that they stopped drinking the contaminated water and milk almost two years ago,” Gideon said.
“We are also concerned that the Stones are not alone. Most locations in Maine where municipal and paper company sludge were spread have not yet been tested for PFAS. We do not know how many farms or private wells are contaminated or how many Maine people face serious health risks from exposure to these dangerous ‘forever’ chemicals. Through our lawsuit, we plan to try to find answers to these important questions.” Gideon stated.