Researchers criticize exposure limits for PFAS
Danish researchers have shown that the EU’s limits for PFAS are erroneous. This may well have serious consequences for estimating the costs for the anticipated clean-up.
But they are still too high, according to a scientific article just published in the journal Environmental Health.
In this publication, Professor of Biostatistics at the University of Copenhagen, Esben Budtz-Jørgensen, and Professor of Environmental Medicine at University of Southern Denmark, Philippe Grandjean, review the calculations that form the basis for EU’s most recent exposure limits for PFAS.
Limit ten times too highThe most recent government budget includes funds to evaluate the extent of the environmental contamination. The plans rely on the EU limit for PFAS exposure from 2020.
But now the researchers question the EU limit, which has been developed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
- We can see from the calculations that EFSA has not complied with their own rules, and we find that EFSA has made erroneous calculations. That means that, for the two most important PFASs (PFOS and PFOA), the limit is about ten time too high, says Philippe Grandjean.
More toxic than anticipatedHe collaborated with Professor of Biostatistics Esben Budtz-Jørgensen to review the calculations of health risks associated with different levels of PFAS exposure – and then the estimated dose that does not materially affect human health. This is how the exposure limit is defined.
Meet the researcher
Philippe Grandjean is Professor of Environmental Medicine at the Department of Public Health. His many years of research have made him a well-known figure in the public eye on topics such as mercury in fish, men's sperm quality, asbestos, pesticides, hormone disruption, and more recently, especially PFAS.
Meet the researcher
Esben Budtz-Jørgensen is professor at Section of Biostatistics at the University of Copenhagen.
We have repeatedly seen that PFAS was mote toxic than we feared
If the exposure limit is lowered as indicated by the researchers, it will result is greater amounts of contamination that will need to be removed. And additional costs.
Hoping for attention from the EUPhilippe Grandjean and Esben Budtz-Jørgensen have previously contributed to calculating exposure limits. But not this time, where they were invited to send comments only.
-When we realized that the errors were of a rather general nature, we decided that we needed to review the full procedure in a scientific article. That took some time to compile the details, but we now hope that the EU will listen and tighten the PFAS exposure limit, says Esben Budtz-Jørgensen.
The researchers’ calculations are now published on www.ehjournal.biomedcentral.com.
Facts about the PFAS limit: