Three new PFOS black spots discovered; immediate measures taken in Mechelen

Three new sites in Flanders turn out to be heavily polluted with toxic PFOS chemicals, in Mechelen, Willebroek and Kleine Brogel. Immediate measures are being taken at the former fire services barracks in Mechelen.

The Flemish waste management company OVAM informed the Flemish government late on Friday that three places in Flanders show elevated PFOS levels: the military site in Kleine Brogel (Limburg), the site of the former paper factory De Naeyer in Willebroek (Antwerp) and the former firefighters barracks in the Dageraadstraat in Mechelen.  

In Mechelen, the PFOS safety standard is said to be exceeded 12 times; urgent measures are needed. The Flemish Interior Minister Bart Somers told the VRT that "we never got any signal from OVAM that extra measures would be necessary". Until now. Mr Somers said that the city of Mechelen will ask local residents living within 100 metres not to use natural water any longer. They should not eat too many vegetables from their own garden, should not consume eggs from their own chickens and should wash their homes regularly with water.  

The place was abandoned some 5 years ago, when the fire services moved to a new building at the Nekkershal. The empty grounds will now be closed for the public. Mr Somers is afraid that more fire services could face this problem, as PFOS was used in the fire-extinguishing foam until 20 years ago.

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