In Rumilly, “eternal pollutants” in the blood of residents

“Make no mistake, it’s not great to have PFAS in your blood. » The woman speaking has just learned that “eternal pollutants” are coursing through her veins. Aged 43, Anne (her first name has been changed at her request) has always lived in Rumilly, a town in Haute-Savoie that has become a “hot spot” for contamination with PFAS, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances.

Read our report again: Article reserved for our subscribers Rumilly, “pan capital of the world” and hot spot for “eternal pollution” with PFAS

At the end of summer 2022, high concentrations of one of these ultratoxic compounds, PFOA, were detected by the regional health agency (ARS) in groundwater, leading the municipality to cut off the water supply. water for 12,000 inhabitants. What levels of exposure to PFOA for these Rumillians? And what are the dangers for their health? Responsible for this type of research, the Public Health France agency does not plan to carry out an impregnation study at the local level.

Frustrated by the lack of initiative from the authorities to answer these questions, a health professional decides to find out for sure. With the support of the association Agir Ensemble pour Rumilly et l’Albanais (AERA), blood tests are carried out on five female volunteers. A sample too limited to have a representative character, recognizes without difficulty the small association of thirty members, which calls for “a real epidemiological study”.

Five years without action

With 10.7 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml), Anne’s PFOA levels are of the same order as those measured in the serum of Fabienne (her first name has been changed at her request), 47 years old, another resident of Rumilly. These levels are seven times higher than the median concentration of PFOA detected in the general population in France (1.47 ng/ml) by the Esteban study in 2019. They also exceed THE fixed indicative health level for women of childbearing age (5 ng/ml) by the German Federal Environment Agency in 2020. If Anne says she ” surprise “ and Fabienne ” angry “both express their ” worry “ for the health of their children but also that of the population. And rightly so.

“PFAS are multi-organ poisonsexplains Philippe Grandjean, professor emeritus of environmental medicine at the University of Southern Denmark and the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health (United States). They accumulate in our bodies and cause toxicity at very low concentrations. » Another global PFAS specialist, Tony Fletcher, specifies that it is difficult to “convert these numbers into risk or probability of disease”. For this environmental epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (United Kingdom), however, it is “preferable to avoid any exposure causing such levels”which he considers “fairly close to what one would expect given the concentrations in the water, which are of the order of 100 ng/l. »

You have 55% of this article left to read. The rest is reserved for subscribers.

source site-30