European rivers heavily polluted with PFAS

European rivers heavily polluted with PFAS

Image: Flickr

European rivers heavily polluted with PFASIs watering vegetables with butt water safe? The question is not as bizarre as it seems, as the Po has been found to be more contaminated with PFAS than the Seine, the Thames and even the Danube. This last river is generally considered to be the most polluted river in Europe. PFAS are chemicals used as components for the most common applications in consumer goods, such as non-stick cookware, furniture products, cosmetics, clothing, fabrics, packaging materials, rubber industry products, electronics, plastics, paper mills and lubricants.


5000 industrial chemicals

PFAS refers to about 5,000 industrial chemicals that are often used for their excellent water-repellent properties, molecular stability and resistance to high temperatures. There are already many alternatives to the use of PFAS, but the industry continues to use them.


International Agency for Research on Cancer (AIRC)

However, in December last year, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (AIRC) declared that some PFAS are carcinogenic and divided them into two groups, namely PFOA and PFOS: the former groups went from “possibly carcinogenic” to “definitely carcinogenic”. Vicenza is one of the areas most polluted by PFAS in Europe. And they are also in the air because most of these products, when they become waste, are incinerated and PFAS end up being inhaled.


Greenpeace mega-campaign

For this reason, Greenpeace has launched a mega-campaign in these hours to ask the Italian government to ban their use with a law that prohibits their further industrial production and distribution. Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden have submitted a proposal to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) for restrictions on production, marketing and use.


The effect of PFAS on our health

PFAS enter the human body mainly through ingestion of drinking water, food, contact with surfaces, contaminated soil and inhalation of dust and air. PFAS are endocrine disruptors, which means that when they enter our human body, they disrupt the function of hormones. It takes a long time to drive them out of our country, about 4-5 years if we succeed and manage to do it in time. They manifest themselves in the organism and can lead to tumors, infertility, mortality due to some cardiovascular diseases, prenatal death, high cholesterol or even a reduced immune response, which endangers the functions of the human organism.


The highest PFAS pollution

The picture is causing concern worldwide. In March 2023, The Guardian reported that Belgium was the country with the highest PFAS pollution found in groundwater in concentrations of up to 73 million ng/l around the PFAS production site of the US company 3M in Zwijndrecht, Flanders.


Serious danger for local residents

People living within a 15 km radius of the site have been told not to eat eggs laid in their gardens and to avoid home-grown vegetables. Meanwhile, 70,000 people living within 5 km of the factory have been offered a blood test for PFAS. A similar scenario at other manufacturers in the UK and the New Netherlands (USA).

Source: Breaking Latest News
Also read: Chemical suppliers: Be vigilant against ECHA assessments!


This information has been compiled with the greatest possible care, in some cases from different information sources. (Interpretation) errors are not excluded. No legal obligation can therefore be derived from this text. Everyone dealing with this subject has the responsibility to delve into the matter!