> For decades, the people living in the Swedish town of Kallinge got their tap water from a treatment plant that turned out to be contaminated with harmful PFAS chemicals.
> They sued the municipally owned water company for damages – and won.
> But the water company is appealing the verdict, arguing that high levels of PFAS should not be considered a personal injury. This is why it definitely should be.
It has been a long journey with many legal and medical twists and turns for the close to 5,000 inhabitants of Kallinge since December of 2013. That’s when high levels of PFAS – more than 100 times the EU limit value – were discovered in the water treatment plant Brantafors, run by municipally owned water company Ronneby Miljöteknik.
The treatment plant was closed and blood samples from residents in the area were collected. The results were shocking; the PFAS levels in the blood of the people of Kallinge were among the highest measured in the world.
Military drills caused the PFAS contamination
The source of the contamination is the fire foam that the Swedish Armed Forces have been using since the 1980s on the exercise grounds of the air base F17, located near the water treatment plant.
The Armed Forces accepted responsibility for the contamination in 2015, but denied to pay compensation to those affected, arguing that there was no connection between the contamination and any health issues.
Chemsec, 3 June 2021