‘Oosterweel is good guyBart de Weaver says: Why didn’t he talk about PFOS contamination before? Never received an email warning of eggs and let kids play
Who knew what, when, and why there was such a long silence? Those are the key questions in the case of PFOS that forms the dark clouds over Zweigendrecht and Antwerp. In studio VRT استوديو the seventh day Antwerp Mayor Bart de Wever (Northern Virginia) came to explain his version of the facts. He said he didn’t want to commit a round of House of Lions, and didn’t want to blame anyone, but said very clearly who thinks he’s innocent in the whole thing: “Lantis (who does Oosterweel’s business and was formerly called BAM in red.) is de absolute good guy in this story.
However, the question arises whether Oosterweel’s work should not be stopped as long as no guarantees can be made that the excavation will not lead to additional damage. According to De Wever, Antwerp should be happy to have the Oosterweel connection. What was originally a mobility project is now a livable project. It is an excellent opportunity to clean up the historical pollution in the sites. Lantis maps the problem, stores contaminated soil, and purifies groundwater.
Pollution around 3M was discovered already in 2004, but there was no contact about it with residents. Why didn’t Mayor De Wever talk about this file earlier? He insists that science at the time still states that PFOS chemicals were not harmful to humans. In 2017, the Black and White Environmental Department informed us that there was absolutely no impact on people in and around the plant site.
In doing so, the mayor points to a report from toxicologist Jan Tetgat from 2017, which was submitted to the Oosterweel Steering Committee, which also included De Wever. However, Tytgat later sent out an explanatory email warning that it was best not to eat eggs or locally grown vegetables or let children play in the soil in the area in question. It hurts, but I’ve never received that email,” says de Wever now. According to him, this email went from Lantis to Ovam and then “fell dead.” “The Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry must now determine what went wrong there.”
During the broadcast, De Wever went on to stress that it has long been said that PFOS does not have a negative effect on humans. In 2018, the international standards related to PFOS were tightened, based on advanced scientific vision. In September 2020, the Flemish government imposed new Flemish standards. De Wever: “There are no populated areas in Antwerp that now exceed treatment standards. This is only the case near the construction area, but no one lives there in Antwerp. In Zwijndrecht, the inhabited area is close to the contaminated area.”