Westerschelde fishers warned not to eat their catch

Photo: Depositphotos

The public health institute in Zeeland has warned amateur fishers at the Westerschelde estuary not to eat their catch, due to ongoing investigation into levels of PFAS chemicals.

Last month, the province began an investigation into environmental levels of the group of chemicals, which have been linked to harmful health effects in humans and animals and are widely used in products and production.

Long-term exposure to low levels may have a negative effect on the immune system, reports NOS.

Local broadcaster Omroep Zeeland did its own investigation this month, and found levels of PFAS in fish that led scientists to recommend not eating them.

In October, concerns were meanwhile raised in Belgium when 90% of 800 local residents nearby a 3M factory in Zwijndrecht had elevated levels of PFOS (one of these chemicals) in their blood.

Province representative Dick van der Velde has asked whether this kind of study could be done in and around Westerschelde.

The Zeeland public health institute study, conducted by Wageningen University and Research, should report at the end of March next year.

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