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Open letter urges EU Commission President to take action against PFAS pollution

EurEau sent a letter (04.03.24) to European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, urging the EU to take swift measures against continued PFAS pollution of our environment.

PFAS, often referred to as 'forever chemicals,' are omnipresent in our environment, infiltrating food, air and water. Even infants are not spared from exposure, with PFAS detected in their first drops of milk.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has flagged PFAS as a serious health risk, prompting urgent action from the water sector. The challenges posed by PFAS pollution are multifaceted and pose significant obstacles to achieving the goals outlined in the European Green Deal:

  1. Technological Hurdles: Removing PFAS from raw drinking water and wastewater requires significant resources and energy. Current methods are insufficient, leading to the generation of contaminated residues and escalating greenhouse gas emissions.
  2. Circular Economy Implications: PFAS hinder the recovery and recycling of nutrients and resources, undermining efforts to establish a circular economy. Water reuse initiatives are jeopardised, threatening the livelihoods of farmers across Europe.
  3. Dependency on Imported Resources: Activated carbon, commonly used for PFAS removal, is largely sourced from China, creating a concerning dependency on foreign suppliers for critical infrastructure needs.
  4. Environmental Impact: PFAS contamination extends beyond water sources, endangering ecosystems, fisheries, tourism, and agriculture. Compliance with future Environmental Quality Standards is at risk, perpetuating the cycle of pollution for decades to come.
  5. Financial Burden: The exorbitant costs associated with PFAS removal disproportionately burden water users, endangering the affordability of essential services, particularly for vulnerable communities.

We call on the President to endorse the 'universal PFAS restriction' proposal currently under consideration by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). This initiative aligns with the European Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability and underscores the urgency of addressing PFAS contamination to protect human health and the environment.

Polluters must be held accountable for their actions. We are ready to work with our colleagues across the EU institutions and other stakeholders to ensure that our water resources, environment and consumers are protected for generations to come.

Read more here.

water, PFAS, water matters

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