Share article:
Share article:

PFOS contamination found in air around 3M factory

© Belga

Months after unsafe levels of the chemical PFOS were discovered in the water and soil in the vicinity of a 3M factory in Antwerp, in addition to in the blood of residents living nearby, new evidence indicates the air is also polluted.

The news comes from a new study by the Flemish Research Institute for Technological Research (VITO) and the Flemish Agency for the Environment (VMM), according to reporting by De Standaard.

Researchers at eight locations measured the presence and concentration of PFOS in dust samples.

The highest concentrations were found in the area around the Oosterweel construction site, near the factory that manufacturer 3M used to occupy.

They say it isn’t yet clear to what extent the PFOS measured there originates from the polluted soil kicked up by construction or from the 3M site itself.

Rainy weather may have affected the measurements, as well, because there is less dust in the air overall during times of heavy precipitation.

Related News


The further away from the Oosterweel site and 3M, the lower the concentrations of PFOS in the air – in the centre of the Zwijndrecht neighbourhood, a few kilometres away, the measured concentration of PFOS is already nine times lower.

The study states that the concentrations found are not alarming, but that they leave room for improvement. However, there are no clear national or international standards yet when it comes to PFOS.

VITO and VMM have now drawn up a temporary assessment framework based on an initial proposal from the developer of the Oosterweel construction project, which was guided by calculations of the European Food Safety Authority.

The next step is to map out the emissions from the 3M plant itself, both past and present.

The Environmental Inspectorate has instructed 3M to clarify this quickly with the help of independent experts.

In the meantime, people have been told to be cautious eating produce grown within a certain radius of the factor, likewise with eggs and other animal products obtained from livestock in that zone.

Latest news

Closing border and new travel restrictions: Countries react to Omicron variant
As more cases of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus are being reported across the world, more and more countries are imposing tougher travel ...
Several rush hour train services to be scrapped from Monday
Up to ten peak time trains to and from Brussels will be temporarily cancelled starting from Monday, Belgian railway company SNCB announced this ...
Europe’s largest vintage clothes store is in Ghent this weekend
Europe's largest pop-up store for second-hand clothes is once again setting up shop in Ghent on Sunday, offering more than five tonnes of vintage ...
Animal welfare in EU’s pig meat sector: What’s wrong?
EU has put into place legislation to ensure that animal welfare conditions are respected in its agricultural policy but the breaches of its ...
‘Not feasible’: Doctors refuse to follow new testing strategy
Doctors have warned they will not follow the government's adapted testing strategy which would see vaccinated people who were in close contact with a ...
Flanders introduces ‘invisible’ speed cameras
New digital speed cameras that are essentially invisible to the road user are being introduced on various roads and motorways in Flanders, Flemish ...
Warnings issued for slippery roads across Belgium
Drivers have been asked to watch out for slippery roads from Saturday afternoon until Sunday evening, as snow and cold temperatures are expected ...
Testing rules following high-risk contact eased for vaccinated people
The coronavirus testing policy following a high-risk contact has been eased, meaning a vaccinated person who was in contact with an infected person ...
New measures announced for Belgian schools
Stricter rules are being implemented across a variety of sectors in Belgium to curb the rising number of infections and limit the damage as a result ...
Majority of booster doses should be administered by March 2022
Invitations will be sent out in the following days for the general population in Belgium to receive a coronavirus booster vaccine, and most adults ...
Belgium adopts national plan to combat gender-based violence
Belgium has adopted a National Action plan for the Fight against Gender-Based Violence, which includes more than 200 measures and unites all levels ...
Antwerp cancels Christmas market and New Year’s Eve fireworks
The city of Antwerp has joined other cities including Leuven and Ghent by announcing it is cancelling this year's Christmas market, the end-of-year ...