Netherlands warns children not to swallow sea foam over PFAS concerns | PFAS #Netherlands #warns #children #swallow #sea #foam #PFAS #concerns #PFAS

The Dutch government has warned people to stop children and pets swallowing foam at the seaside, after a study showed “forever chemicals” were concentrated in the spume.

After research into foam at the Belgian seaside showing a concentration of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) – widely used for their waterproofing qualities but difficult to destroy – the Dutch public health institute RIVM measured the coast in Zeeland, north and south Holland in April and August.

It found that, although not as marked as the “very high concentrations” discovered by the Flemish Institute for Technological Research in one sample from the Belgian resort of Knokke, sea foam at popular Dutch resorts including Egmond, Katwijk, Scheveningen, Texel and Zandvoort had comparable levels of PFAS to Belgium.

PFAS synthetic chemicals have been linked with toxic effects on the human immune system, certain cancers, fertility issues and risks for wildlife.

“It is sensible to have a shower after swimming, wash your hands before eating, and not to let children and pets swallow any sea foam,” said the minister of water management, Mark Harbers, in a parliamentary briefing on Tuesday. “The RIVM has previously established that people in the Netherlands are already too exposed to PFAS. A large amount comes from food and drinking water. Every route through which people ingest more PFAS is undesirable, including via sea foam.”

He said no measures were needed regarding sea swimming since levels in the water were “a lot lower”. The RIVM said in a press release that it was unclear what the presence of the chemicals in foam meant “for the health of … swimmers, surfers, or people walking on the beach” due to a lack of data on exposure and acceptable risk levels.

According to the Dutch study, which measured foam where available, “just as much if not more PFAS occur in Dutch sea foam as have been measured in Flemish sea foam, with the exception of one sample from Knokke in which very high PFAS concentrations were found”.

PFAS are used in everything from waterproof clothing and cosmetics to firefighting foam and pizza boxes. Some are banned but there are concerns about environmental levels because the carbon-fluorine bonds that make the chemicals so useful also resist degradation. Last month it was revealed that 17 of England’s 18 water companies found them in drinking water sources, including the widely restricted chemical PFOS in raw, untreated water at 18 times the limit for drinking water.

Last year, the RIVM notes, the Dutch government tightened drinking water limits for PFAS after they were found to be “more dangerous for health than previously thought”.

Flanders advises not playing in sea foam, not ingesting it, and washing after a day at the beach. The EU is considering large-scale restrictions on PFAS.

#Netherlands #warns #children #swallow #sea #foam #PFAS #concerns #PFAS

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