3M PFAS plant in Antwerpen closed down

Research of the VU E&H department showed in August 2021 that PFOS levels in blood of inhabitants of the village of Zwijndrecht, near Antwerp, Belgium were exceeding the safety limits of EFSA (European Food safety Authority) by up to a factor 100.

The maximum PFOS concentration found was 1100 microgram per Liter. That research initiated a much larger investigation on PFOS levels in human blood around Zwijndrecht, organized by the Belgian authorities. Prof. De Boer acted as an member of the advisory board for this research. The results were presented at 26 October and confirmed the pilot study of VU E&H. 90% of the 800 persons involved had PFOS levels above the EFSA safety limit. Based on the outcome of this study the Flemish minister for Environment, Zuhal Demir, has decided to close down the 3M factory, at least for the time being, to prevent further contamination by PFAS constituents. Prof. De Boer gave an explanation of the results in the VRT/CANVAS program De Afspraak on Wednesday 27 October.