Health & Toxicity PFAS

Testimony Politicians in Belgian 3M PFAS Gate (FREE)

Politicians who played a role in the Belgian 3M PFAS gate will have to answer to the PFOS/PFAS inquiry committee in the Flemish Parliament as of this week. This is a FREE article.

Today the mayor of Zwijndrecht André Van de Vyver (Green) and the first local council member Steven Vervaet (Green) will give text and explanation.

The municipality of Zwijndrecht has “never received a report” from the higher authorities or the competent Flemish authorities that the PFOS pollution by chemical company 3M posed a health risk for the residents, the mayor and first council member said on Monday.

“We have never received any notification from authorities or authorities competent for environmental inspection or enforcement that there was a health risk,”

Mayor Van de Vyver

 “Since 2000, we know a lot about PFOS contamination from 3M. But at no time were we alarmed about a risk to the health of our people,”

Steven Vervaet

The much-discussed report from 2017 by toxicologist Jan Tytgat, which includes advice about eating eggs and using well water, has not been delivered to the municipality according to Vervaet. 

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“We only got that in June 2021,” said Vervaet.

Vervaet also accuses 3M of “withholding” information and “selectively citing” scientific studies. 

“That is very bad,” said Vervaet.

“What I really blame 3M for is that they’ve boarded up their communication to the outside world and minimized the problem. 

That’s not what I expect from a chemical company.

When a pharmaceutical company markets a product, everything must be in the package leaflet. 

In chemistry, it is apparently the case that one gradually adjusts if problems arise”.

Steven Vervaet

Personal Remarks

Belgian / European legal system says that

  1. you are innocent until proven otherwise. Technically speaking, 3M is still innocent.
  2. you have the right to a fair trial. 3M has the right to a fair trial like anybody else.

Belgian politicians are the world champion in not taking their responsibilities.

The local politicians will blame the Regional (Flemish) politicians; and the politicians as a whole will blame 3M, the Flemish environmental agencies and Lantis (construction company).

It will become a basket full of crabes where everybody blames everybody.

Fundamental questions that need to be answered

  1. Who knew about the PFAS pollution problem and when? What is the timeline?
  2. Who’s job was it to communicate about the PFAS pollution to the general public?
  3. Why didn’t it happen? Did someone try to withhold or manipulate information? What were the motives?
  4. How is 3M dealing with other PFAS contamination worldwide? This may be a very tricky question for 3M because it will inevitable backfire against them.
  5. Did 3M act responsibly or in a reckless ways? Did they try to block information or to influence the outcome of scientific studies and administrative inquiries?
  6. The actors involved in the “secret deal”: did they knew about the health risks related to PFAS at the time of the deal? If yes, they committed a public health crime.

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Read all the articles on this topic 3M PFAS Gate


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