Pfas: it's an emergency, now I'm also in the Po

Traces of C6O4, New generation Pfas. Arpa Veneto has raised the alarm following a series of samples.

This is confirmation that the Pfas issue affects the whole country, it is a primary national environmental issue", Comments the president of the Region, Luca Zaia. Now the Veneto has prepared the appropriate reports through informative letters to the Emilia Romagna, Lombardy and Piedmont Regions.

What are the Pfas

The acronym "Pfas" indicates the so-called perfluoroalkyl substances, a class of chemical compounds used in industry for their ability to make products impermeable to fats and water. They have been used since the 1950s in the production of numerous commercial items. They are used, for example, to protect smartphones, to wax jackets, to make non-stick coatings for kitchen pots or to make technical fabrics.

The health risks

Pfas are stored in the environment. Through water and food they also accumulate in living organisms, including man, resulting toxic at high concentrations.

The scientific literature continues to investigate the correlation between Pfas and diseases of various kinds. These substances are suspected of interfering in intercellular communication, increasing the risk of developing tumors. Among the toxic effects observed are also enumerated the restriction of fetal growth; diabetes; arterial hypertension; the increase in cholesterol; ulcerative colitis; the growth of uric acid, thyroid diseases; the reduction of spermatozoa in males and female and male infertility.

The Pfas in Italy

The Pfas have become sadly famous since particularly high concentrations in the blood of the population of some municipalities in the Vicenza area were detected. In 2007 a study published on Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry he had already observed the presence of these substances in Northern Italy. Further research from 2013 conducted by I.Institute of Research on Waters (IRSA) of the CNR had identified high concentrations of perfluoroalkyls in an area of ​​the Veneto between the provinces of Vicenza, Verona and Padua.

In 2006 the European Union introduced restrictions on the use of Pfos, one of the most widespread molecules among the Pfas, to be applied by the Member States. For drinking water they are not yet defined and there are no concentration limits in national and European legislation.

The most recent data on the diffusion of perfluoroalkyl substances do not appear comforting. According to the ninth and final screening onpollution from Pfas carried out by the Veneto Region, it emerges that 65 percent of the people checked have high blood perfluoroalkyl values ​​and will have to undergo a free second level medical test.

There are four toxic compounds found in more than 50 percent of the monitored population: PFOA, Pfos, Pfhxs and Pfna. To the so-called area A, which includes the apolluted pipelines before the application of the filters and located above the underground water table concerned, thirteen municipalities belong. While seventeen are those who fall into the red area B.

Concentrations increase with the passage of time spent in the area under control", Reads the latest report from the Veneto Region. Presumably, therefore, it is the elderly who have the highest levels of contamination.

Now the new samplings performed byArpav raise further concern on the Pfas. In March, a positivity was found at the surface water station on the river Po in Corbola, with a quantity of about 80 nanograms per liter. The analysis was repeated on April 2, confirming the previous results.

A substance so little used and of a new generation to be found in these quantities in the largest river in Italy suggests that important sources of pollution can be found upstream", Comments the Arpa Veneto.

To deal with yet another emergency, the Veneto Region has ordered new filter batteries in order to avoid the spread of perfluoroalkyls in drinking water.

Luca Zaia also made an appeal to the government, asking for a firm intervention to put zero limits on Pfas, as already done by Veneto. "We invite the Ministry of the Environment to move as quickly as possible along the line already drawn by our Region"- declares the Governor of Veneto -"to protect the population not only of the areas affected by this type of pollution in Veneto, but of all citizens of our country”.

Video: Environment Subcommittee: PFAS Contamination (May 2021).