High Contamination and Health Risks: The Impact of PFAS on Local Communities

2023-11-12 21:09:05

In making these comparisons, the report immediately mentions that contamination is high: ” most participants present rates higher than the median rates (P50) highlighted in the Liège population. “

A risk for the baby is strongly suspected

Let’s detail several substances:

For the PFHxS, all participants exceed the median of the Liège population and 7 out of 8 are above the P95. Unfortunately, there are no HBM values ​​for this substance. If we take the median of the 8 people from Feluy for PFHxS (4.59 µg/L), the group is approximately 4 times more exposed than the general population (1.07 µg/L). All volunteers also exceed the study median value of around 3M. Please note, this result must be taken with great caution given the low number of samples.

For PFOA, a PFAS documented as being among the most toxic, 5 out of 8 participants exceed the ideal value (HBM-I) of 2 µg/L. Which is not unusual in the general population. On the other hand, none exceeds the alert threshold (HBM-II) for this substance.

For PFOS, also considered one of the most toxic PFAS, 6 out of 8 volunteers exceed the HBM-I and even two individuals are above the German alert threshold (HBM-II). According to scientists, a risk to their health is therefore possible and actions are therefore required to reduce their exposure to this pollutant. Among these two individuals, there is a woman of childbearing age. The report mentions that in case of pregnancy, ” a risk for the baby is strongly suspected “. Again, if we take the median value of the group of 8 volunteers from Feluy (9.06 µg/L), it is almost 5 times higher than that of the general population (1.91 µg/L). An individual is even above the median rate (P50) of Zwijndrecht. In the same way, we cannot generalize the conclusions of this test to the entire population living around the area. The number of samples should be expanded to have a more solid statistical basis.

With regard to this orientation test, the two most problematic substances in the blood of the 8 people living near the petrochemical zone are PFHxS and PFOS. Remember, these two PFAS were found in the wastewater discharge from TotalEnergies Petrochemicals but also in the pollution stain of the oil depot.

On the other hand, the PFHxA present in large quantities in the storm basin near Chemviron is not found in the blood of the 8 volunteers. The impact of Chemviron on the population seems a priori less significant.

My fight will begin

These results obviously provoke a reaction from the local population. In the eyes of Nancy Hoebeke, who grew up near TotalEnergies, we feel a mixture of sadness and revolt: ” It’s absurd. I can not believe it. My fight will begin now. I am going to fight. I’m going to join a residents’ committee to demand accountability because now we have figures “.

Before we went to meet them, most of these residents had never heard of PFAS. Today, these analyzes represent hope. That of being heard by the public authorities. Public authorities which, at the time of writing, have still not set discharge limits for PFAS in the TotalEnergies Petrochemicals permit.

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