BOSTON (WWLP) – The state is taking on PFAS chemicals through several avenues, one being a bill that would address PFAS on farms.

PFAS chemicals are known as forever chemicals, and a bill here on Beacon Hill is trying to address the problem at its source while also protecting farmers. An act protecting our soil and farms from PFAS contamination was heard today in front of the Joint Committee on Agriculture.

The reason PFAS chemicals are known as forever chemicals is because they do not break down entirely in the environment, or within our bodies. PFAS chemicals are often introduced to soil most frequently through the use of biosolids for fertilizer. When this type of “sludge” is used, plants absorb them, which then passes on the chemicals to animals and humans.

According to Senator Jo Comerfords office, even very small doses have been linked to harm to the immune system, cancer, reproductive diseases and other illnesses. At Monday’s hearing, farmers spoke in favor of the legislation, as long as it protected farmers from losing their livelihoods.

Senator Ann Gobi, who sits on the committee, is a co-sponsor to the legislation and she says, “We know that it’s everywhere, and it’s gaining such importance throughout the, not just the state, but the united states, nationally and internationally, and we have to try to figure out a way to stop it from being put into agricultural lands, stop it from people ingesting it, and it’s going to be a really difficult task.”

This legislation would call for the testing of sludge used for fertilizer, warning labels to be placed on products that contain PFAS, and provide funding to help farmers access alternatives to PFAS fertilizers. Before the legislation moves to the House or Senate, it still needs to be voted favorably out of committee.