Monday 10 August 2020

Minister relaxes rules for PFAS pollution following builders’ protest

Work on building a new underground bike park in Amsterdam. Photo: DutchNews.nl

The government is to be more flexible about the levels of toxic PFAS in soil, allowing builders and dredging companies to get on with their jobs after all, junior infrastructure minister Stientje van Veldhoven has told MPs.

The tough limit introduced in July has helped create chaos in the construction sector, with hundreds of projects being put on hold because moving polluted soil would be breaking the rules.

PFAS are toxic chemicals used in a wide range of manufacturing processes, from pizza boxed to non-stick frying pans, and which do not break down naturally. Linked to several types of cancer and other health problems, they are found in water, in soil, plants and wildlife.

The ministry’s change of heart follows a mass protest by the construction sector in The Hague earlier this month.

The new rules, which have been approved by the public health institute RIVM, will come into effect nationwide, the minister said. The limit for PFAS in soil will now go up from the July limit of 0.1 microgrammes per kilo to 0.8 microgrammes.

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