Nordic study reinforces concerns over Pfos
Environment Daily 1720, 07/09/04
A six-country Nordic study has underlined concerns over environmental contamination by persistent perfluorinated compounds, some of which are known to be toxic. In response to the findings, Norwegian pollution control authority SFT called for further measures to reduce contamination.
There is already considerable regulatory interest in perfluorinated alkylated substances (Pfas), and especially the most commonly found members of the family, Pfos and Pfoa. This summer, the UK proposed EU measures to restrict use of Pfos in sectors ranging from chromium plating and fire-fighting foams to the photographic industry and aviation hydraulic fluids.
Environmental contamination by these chemicals has already been reported globally, but the new Nordic study provides a clearer picture, according to SFT expert Ola Glesne.
Through the use of state of the art techniques, the research has quantified contamination levels more precisely, shown that it is more widespread than previously reported, and also demonstrated measurable contamination by a range of Pfas beyond Pfos and Pfoa.
While in most environmental compartments levels found are not thought to pose immediate risks, some marine wildlife species are exceptions. At the other end of the scale, the detection of Pfas in remote areas strengthens the evidence for long-range transport of the chemicals.
"The results must be taken really seriously", Mr Glesne told Environment Daily, because of the great stability of Pfas in the environment combined with the known toxicity of certain family members.