The art of looking away

By Tim Luimes, | 9 March, 2022

We did not know that public health was at risk. So say the ministers responsible for the 2017 decision to keep quiet about the PFOS contamination. In reality, there were numerous signals that there was a risk. These signals were systematically ignored for fifteen years, according to a reconstruction by Knack and journalistic collective The Investigative Desk.

For years, the Flemish government ignored serious indications that the PFOS contamination in Zwijndrecht posed a threat to public health. This can be explained by a plethora of system errors: a fragmentation of responsibilities, the major role given to private parties with commercial interests and poor transfer from science to policy.

Very high concentrations of PFOS were measured both at the 3M site and in the area where Lantis had to work for the Oosterweel link. To allow the work to continue, Lantis adjusted the standards for handling the soil. The clean-up of the extremely serious pollution is seriously delayed by Oosterweel.

Read the full article on Knack.

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