The presence of contaminated PFAS in Wallonia is still limited. This was according to a study ordered by the Walloon government.
The uproar in Flanders over PFOS contamination in and around the 3M site in Zwijndrecht has also caused concern in Wallonia. The Walloon government has asked its own services to conduct a study on the possible contamination of PFAS – the collective name for thousands of hard-to-degrade synthetic materials that also include PFOS – in the Walloon region.
It now appears that the pollution has not spread to Wallonia, Minister of Environment Celine Teller (Ekolo) said in a press release. She said very high concentrations of PFAS were not found in soil or in waterways.
Chemical giant 3M produced PFOS in Zwijendrecht until the early 2000s, but no water, grease and dirt repellents were produced in Wallonia. PFOS does exist, but this presence is more widespread and more related to the use of certain PFOS-containing products or to certain industrial activities.
Overview | PFOS contamination Zwijndrecht
- PFOS is a non-biodegradable chemical that is used in products to make them water and dirt repellent.
- PFOS builds up in the body and is linked to hormonal imbalance, increased risk of cancer, and a weakened immune system.
- The American company 3M produced PFOS at its site in Zwijndrecht. Large amounts of PFOS have ended up in soil and groundwater.
- 3M discontinued PFOS production in 2002, officially because it is neither biodegradable nor nearly biodegradable.
- Scientists have known Zwijndrecht as a hot spot for PFOS for more than ten years.
- The 3M site is adjacent to the Oosterweel Connection pier, where excavation work will commence shortly. Environmental societies have complained that it will flatten tons of contaminated soil.
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