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New study reveals alarming forever Chemical TFA concentrations in Europe’s water

A study conducted by the members of the European Pesticide Action Network (PAN Europe) analysing samples from 23 surface water and six groundwater samples from ten EU countries revealed alarmingly highly TFA (Trifluoroacetic acid) concentrations. This adds another argument to the call of the water services sector for a prompt and far-reaching PFAS ban.

According to the study, all water samples analysed contained PFAS. More than 98% of the total PFAS detected were TFA, a known degradation product of PFAS pesticides and other PFAS. TFA levels ranged from 370 ng/l to 3,300 ng/l with an average of 1,180 ng/l. The average concentration of all other 23 PFAS together was 17.5 ng/l.

It is worth noting that the contamination cannot be traced back to point sources and is remarkably high in agricultural areas.

Oliver Loebel, EurEau Secretary General, stated: “The removal of TFA from raw drinking water is technically extremely challenging and resource-intensive. All applications leading to the release of TFA to the environment should be stopped immediately through the general PFAS restriction under REACH, and the legislation relating to pesticides and biocides. Furthermore, we call for the strict application of the polluter-pays principle. It is completely unacceptable that water consumers have to shoulder the cost of PFAS removal.”  

The toxicity of TFA is currently re-assessed by EU agencies.

More reading: Report: TFA in Water: Dirty PFAS Legacy Under the Radar

And EurEau's PFAS reading is here.  

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