FAIRFIELD, Maine (AP) — Deer harvested by hunters in part of central Maine should not be consumed as food because of elevated levels of an environmental pollutant, authorities in the state said Tuesday.

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife said it detected high levels of PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, in the Fairfield area. The deer were harvested in the area of several farm fields that are contaminated with the substances, the department said.

The substances are sometimes called “forever chemicals.” They're industrial compounds used in products such as cookware, carpets and firefighting foams, and they're an increasing focus of state and federal environmental regulators.

The Maine wildlife department said it has issued a “do not eat advisory” for deer harvested in the Fairfield area. The agency said the advisory area includes farm fields contaminated with high PFAS levels due to the spread of municipal and industrial sludge that contained the chemicals.

Deer that fed in the areas have ingested the chemicals and have PFAS in their meat and organs, the department said.

Maine's deer hunting season is entering its final stretch. Hunters who use traditional firearms must stop hunting after Saturday. The season for muzzleloaders comes next and runs into December.

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