RIVM advises anglers against eating toxic Westerschelde catch

Public health institute RIVM has warned anglers to not to eat too many of the fish they catch in the Westerschelde estuary because of the pollution.

The RIVM has been measuring the presence of per- and polyfluoroalkyl chemicals, or pfas, in shellfish, shrimps, oysters and mussels and its effect on human health since November in an ongoing investigation.

Based on the results, the institute recommends that people who catch their own fish in the estuary should not eat it more than once a year and shrimps no more than twice. Oysters and mussels can be eaten up to a hundred times a year.

The amount of pfas absorbed by fish is so large that even small portions exceed the health limits for humans, the RIVM said in its interim report. Pfas are used in a variety of products, from packaging and clothes to cosmetics.

The Zeeland provincial authorities are in the process of appointing a so-called ‘pfas coordinator’ to tackle the pfas pollution in the area, local broadcaster Omroep Zeeland said earlier this week.

There are many different organisations, each with their own responsibility for the problem, with the added complication that the pfas are being produced not in the Netherlands but across the border in Flanders, the broadcaster said.

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