In the Netherlands, sea water is contaminated by perennial pollutants

In the Netherlands, sea water is contaminated by perennial pollutants

Study finds Dutch seaside resorts contain concentrations of PFAS comparable to those detected along the Belgian coast a few months earlier. Specifically, perennial pollutants have been spotted in sea foam, limiting dangers for surfers and swimmers. But it’s better to avoid drinking the cup!

Last February, a field study revealed the presence of perfluorinated and polyfluoroalkyl compounds (PFAS) in sea foam off the Belgian coast. Carried out by the Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO), the research in question prompted Dutch researchers to carry out similar analyses, but this time in the Netherlands. Samples were taken in the provinces of Zeeland, North Holland and South Holland last April and August, by the Netherlands Institute of Public Health (RIVM). Results: several seaside resorts (including Egmond, Katwijk, Scheveningen, Texel and Zandvoort) presented levels of PFAS comparable to those observed in Belgium.

Sea foam forms naturally when algae die in the sea (…) PFAS are concentrated in sea foam, which therefore contains much more PFAS than sea water“, says the RIVM in a press release. The researchers, however, do not comment on the quantity of sea foam that people ingest during their various activities at sea or on the beach. “There are no standardized scenarios for determining exposure to sea foam, nor risk limits for PFAS in seawater or sea foam“, specify the latter. Before adding: “However, it makes sense that exposure can be avoided by avoiding contact with sea foam“. “A recent RIVM study shows that a large part of the Dutch population already ingests too much PFAS through food and drinking water. Any additional exposure is therefore not desirable“. For his part, the Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management of the Netherlands Mark Harbers recommends that anyone in contact with sea water take a shower or wash their hands and insists on the need not to let children and pets ingest sea foam, according to The Guardian.

Present in many everyday products (paints, varnishes, textiles, food packaging, etc.), eternal pollutants are toxic chemical substances that take hundreds of years to degrade. Mostly from factories, they can also come from firefighting foams. It is also this specific type of PFAS that New Zealand scientists from the University of Auckland have decided to tackle. The latter published research last August, in which they explained that they had perhaps found a solution to free the soil from these pollutants. Their method? A mill with metal balls capable of grinding solid materials at extremely high speeds. According to the authors of the work, the grinding of balls carried out using the mill would have made it possible to destroy almost all (from 99.88% to 100%) of the PFAS present on the ground of an American military base, where the samples were taken.