High levels of PFAS in European water bodies


Published 30 May 2024
- By Editorial Staff
The River Seine in Paris had the highest levels of the PFAS substance TFA.

Levels of PFAS are alarmingly high in European lakes and rivers, according to a new report from various European environmental organizations. Among other things, high levels of the variant TFA have been found in Lake Mälaren.

TFA is a PFAS that is short-lived and is usually referred to as the “runt” of the perpetual chemicals. Other PFAS can be broken down into TFA, which then never breaks down in nature. It is considered dangerous for aquatic organisms, among other things.

A collaborative report by European environmental organizations, including the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (Naturskyddsföreningen), found that TFAs are incredibly widespread in the environment in rivers and lakes. TFA was present in all 29 samples taken, ranging from 370 nanograms per liter to 3,300. In Lake Mälaren, for example, TFA was found at 650 nanograms per liter. In contrast, levels were highest in the German river Elbe, where they were 3 300 nanograms per liter, and in the French Seine, where they were just under 3 000.

TFA is not naturally occurring, but is often found in refrigerants, pesticides and pharmaceuticals. It can often be used in the manufacture of other PFAS and is often formed when perpetual chemicals are burned. Today, it is still unclear exactly how TFA affects humans and the environment, as few studies have been done on the subject.

The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation is calling for a total ban on PFAS pesticides and for companies to stop selling refrigerators, freezers and air conditioners with PFAS refrigerants. It also believes that Sweden should work at EU level to ensure that all PFASs are finally banned.

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