Forever Pollution Project maps Europe’s PFAS contamination


On February 23, 2023, Le Monde published the Forever Pollution Map which illustrates the sites contaminated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) across Europe. Le Monde created the map together with 17 European media partners in the Forever Pollution Project. While the PFAS Project Lab had already published an American PFAS map in December 2021, this is the first of its kind for Europe. Europe.

The project identified 17,000 sites where PFAS have been detected in organisms, waters, or soils and 21,000 presumptive contamination sites, i.e., with past or current activities that use and emit PFAS. A location was considered contaminated with PFAS if the concentrations were 10 ng/L or higher. Of the 17,000 contaminated sites, more than 2,100 were considered PFAS hotspots, i.e., sites “where total PFAS (or [Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid] (PFOS) + [Perfluorooctanoic acid] (PFOA)) have been measured in any media over 100 ng/L.” Furthermore, 20 plants where PFAS are synthesized were identified. These plants sell the PFAS to 232 companies that use them to manufacture industrial products, such as “plastics, paints, and varnishes, pesticides, waterproof textiles, [and] other chemicals.”

To identify the contaminated sites, the Forever Pollution Project used a method largely corresponding to the one developed by the PFAS Project Lab. Data from 21 scientific studies were used to compile the European map.

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Food Packaging Forum, 09-03-23