It was already clear in 2017 that there was a health risk for PFOS in Zwijendrecht, but planned contacts with the population were not imminent. Many newspapers are talking about this today. After the Oosterweel project restarted, client BAM/Lantis conducted its own soil investigations, which revealed severe contamination in 2017. Almost the entire Flemish government at the time was informed of the results.
Lantis, which was still called BAM (Beheersmaatschappij Antwerpen Mobiel), hundreds of soil samples were analyzed years ago before the Oosterweel business began. Lantis also commissioned a study from toxicologist Jan Tytgat (KU Leuven), which showed unequivocally that PFOS also causes problems for public health and the food chain. This is what de Morgen writes.
“We do not recommend eating vegetables from gardens located in an area where soil and/or groundwater (above normal) is contaminated,” Tytgat and De Titgat quoted from the October 6 2017 report. It is not recommended to “allow children to play in an area where the soil is contaminated or to allow children to play in a sandbox in an area where the soil is contaminated”.
items of interest
“There were reasons for concern and to proactively inform people on the advice. Citizens have a right to correct scientific information,” Tytgat told HLN LIVE. “There is no acute risk, and fortunately, there is concern about long-term effects from chronic exposure.”
“In my report, I described cases from the United States about the risks of PFAS in general. There are disorders in the immune system, stunted growth, and reproductive problems. There was also a risk of cancer in some animal experiments. These are elements of concern.”
Send mail to the Flemish government and Antwerp City Council
The then-bourgeois government and Antwerp City Council were also informed by mail of the results of their measurements and the Tytgat report, according to VRT. An email from Lantis stating that VRT NWS was able to view the reported offers.
On September 29, 2017, Lantes sent an email to these addressees: then-Flemish Prime Minister Geert Bourgeois (N-VA), his deputies Liesbeth Homans (N-VA), Bart Tommelein (Open VLD), Hilde Crevits (CD&V), Concerned Ministers Ben Waits (N-VA) on Mobility, Joke Schauvliege (CD&V) on the Environment, Antwerp Mayor Bart de Wever (N-VA), Alderman on Mobility, Quinn Kines (N-VA), and implementer professor Mark Van Bell (CD & V). Many Cabinet employees also received the email in their inboxes.
But despite this information, the planned contact of the Flemish public waste company OVAM with residents of Zwijendrecht was not made. According to de Tejd, the government was asked when the work would be done on information evenings for residents, but in the end it fell silent.
OVAM stated that it will include the report in the soil descriptive investigation at chemicals company 3M. OVAM spokesperson Jan Verhein says that “the connection was waived because standards at the time were not exceeded”.
What should be done now? According to Tytgat, there is something to be done on two levels. “First there is the business itself and there is a lot of heavily contaminated soil. There are treatment options, but they are very expensive. This definitely needs to be addressed.”
Second, the pollution of the residents of Beveren and Zwijndrecht must be measured. “Only when we know these results can we form a picture of how dangerous they are. We must not play panic football. Measure first and know, and only then can we make a statement.”
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