In the context of the German EU Council Presidency, an online conference was organised to continue the information exchange and the share of best practices internationally as initiated by the PFAS workshop of the EU Commission in January 2020.
About 750 people worldwide followed more than twenty experts involved with PFAS emissions and contaminations presenting and discussing current challenges and regulations, as well as national and international management examples and strategies.
PFAS as a blueprint for emerging pollutants
Hosted by Dr. Arlene Blum (see portrait of Arlene Blum elsewhere in this newsletter), the panelists focused on the central question: what have we learned from PFAS? What works well and what can we do better in the future to prevent similar problems with other chemical substances?
Johan Ceenaeme –who presented ànd represented the EmConSoil network- stressed the need for cooperation, not only at the international (policy) level, but also as between research institutes, industry, soil experts, governments and the general public.
The concluding message from the panel:
- not only the individual characteristics of chemical compounds should be monitored but also their behaviour when mixed with other chemicals present in the environment;
- stronger upstream prevention is needed to prevent recurrence of pollution, e.g. through safe and sustainable design of chemicals and products and avoidance of non-essential uses of chemicals of concern;
- there is a need for general guidelines to address PFAS as a class (rather than as subgroups or individual substances);
- considerable efforts are still needed to develop proper monitoring and remediation of soil and groundwater contaminated with PFAS
on the International virtual PFAS Conference can be found on the website of the German Federal Ministry for the environment, nature conservation and nuclear safety.
Programme of the event : https://www.iuss.org/media/2020_pfas_conference_flyer.pdf