Step 7: Do the Amendments I Buy (Composts and Fertilizers) Contain PFAS?

PFAS may be present in compost and manure or sludge-based fertilizers.

This is because they last a long time in the environment and they are widely used. However, specific PFAS compounds were phased out beginning in 2000. That means that PFAS levels in compost and manure or sludge-based fertilizers are likely lower now than in the past and will continue to decrease as more PFAS compounds are banned.

  • The products of most concerns for their potential to contribute PFAS to your garden are those containing:
    • Topsoil obtained from farmland with elevated PFAS levels
    • Composts or fertilizers made with sewage sludge (“biosolids”) containing PFAS or
    • Composts or fertilizers containing manure from animals fed PFAS contaminated feed or water
    • Fresh manure from PFAS impacted livestock

To get more information about the products you purchase:

For compost:

  • Ask the seller if their products contain manure, sewage sludge, or other materials from PFAS impacted sources. You can also ask them if their products have been tested for PFAS. Visit the Commercial Compost Suppliers in Maine page (UMaine Extension).

For topsoil:

  • Ask about the history of where it was obtained, or if it has been tested:
    • Was the land treated with sewage sludge, manure, compost, or other materials are known to contain PFAS?
    • Has the land been irrigated with water with elevated PFAS levels?

For fresh manure or manure-based fertilizers:

  • Inquire if the manure came from animals grazed on PFAS impacted land or provided PFAS contaminated feed or water.

Note: bagged fertilizer or compost material that contains sewage-sludge-derived material must be labeled as such. 

To direct questions to University of Maine Cooperative Extension, please email:

Proceed to Step 8: Should I Eat Produce Grown in My Garden? →