0330 223 4372

Scientists appeal for PFAS chemicals to be defined as a class, industrial spills, swimmers falling ill, poor quality water on Britain's beaches, and free trees from The Environment Agency.

Scientists are trying to persuade businesses and the government to treat PFAS chemicals as a class. The Wokingham area suffers a really nasty chemical spill. River swimmers fall foul of water pollution whilst some of the nation's favourite beaches are slammed for poor water quality: tree planting boosts the improvement of natural river habitats.
SUBSCRIBE

Scientists appeal for PFAS chemicals to be defined as a class

According to the Green Science Policy Institute, all perfluorinated and polyfluorinated substances, also called PFAS, should be treated as a single class, as well as ‘avoided for non-essential uses’. The idea is supported by a peer-reviewed article in the publication Environmental Science & Technology Letters.

The appeal comes direct from a team of sixteen scientists from universities and other sources. They say the extreme long life and toxicity of PFAS make the traditional management of these chemicals ‘dangerously inadequate’ and believe a class-based system would address the problem, going a long way towards reducing the terrible harm these substances already cause worldwide. 

There are thousands of different PFAS and it’s impossible to assess and manage the risks of them all individually. The appeal includes fluorinated polymers, large molecules that release smaller toxic PFAS and other dangerous substances into the environment over time. Creating a single class of PFAS means the dodgy process of replacing a banned substance with its chemical relative, which is also later banned, will finally be stopped. PFAS are sometimes combined without researching the effects of new combinations, something else that should stop for good when these dangerous chemicals finally fall under the one umbrella.

Some PFAS have been associated with cancer, fertility problems, a disrupted endocrine system and immune system, developmental problems and many more health issues. All this sits against a background where less than one in a hundred PFAS is toxicity tested. At the same time they tend to be ‘extremely persistent’ in the environment and can break down into even more persistent elements.

Cleaning up the existing mess these ‘forever chemicals’ have already left behind will take decades, even centuries. And that means our children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren plus every living thing on earth will be left to suffer in future, even if we do the decent thing and reclassify all PFAS immediately.

As Arlene Blum, the Executive Director of the Green Science Policy Institute, says, “The longer we continue the unnecessary use of PFAS, the more likely the overall future harm to our world will rival, or even surpass, that of the coronavirus.” On the bright side, some businesses already take a class-based approach to PFAS and some governments have banned PFAS entirely in some products.

Tree planting boosts the improvement of natural river habitats. River swimmers fall foul of water pollution. Some of the nation’s favourite beaches are slammed for poor water quality. The Wokingham area suffers a really nasty chemical spill. And scientists are trying to persuade businesses and the government to treat PFAS chemicals as a class. It’s all go in our world this week.

Serious chemical spill at Dinton Pastures Country Park, Wokingham

Dinton Pastures Country Park recently gave an urgent warning about a chemical spill in a nearby stream, where a ‘large quantity’ of chemicals leaked into the ground upstream from Dinton. An enormous eight thousand litres of Nutriox were spilled one and a half miles upstream of the Emm Brook at Dinton, dangerous to the eyes and harmful if swallowed. People were advised to rinse their eyes and skin with fresh water if they were affected.

The Environment Agency has confirmed the industrial pollution has been dealt with on the site where it originated and didn’t spill into nearby Emm Brook, nor have they discovered any negative impacts to the environment.

People fall ill after swimming in the River Dee 

You would hope that every river in the nation would be clean enough to swim in safely. But swimmers have been falling ill after swimming in the Sandy Lane area of the River Dee in Chester, near Boughton. Public Health England North West has asked people who have been swimming there and are suffering from ‘diarrhoea, fever or abdominal pain within 10 days of swimming’ to see their doctor. They are also appealing to the public not to swim in the affected area. 

The water pollution problem originates with ongoing work by Public Health England, the Environment Agency, Cheshire West and Chester Council, and Welsh Water, which are all doing their best to manage potential pollution from a privately owned pumping station near Chester.

Is your local beach safe for swimming and paddling?

You would also hope that beaches in the UK would feature clean sea water that’s safe for people to enjoy. But the quality of the sea water around our coast is under question yet again. The Environment Agency has released new, updated insight into the quality of water at beaches across the UK, and the news is not good.

Some beaches have been newly-designated as ‘no go’ swimming zones thanks to poor water quality, some are being worked on to improve things, and in other cases the Agency recommends the public steers clear of the sea during ‘certain times’. If you’d like to know what your local beach’s water quality is like, click here

The Environment Agency offers free trees to fisheries

It’s good to see not far short of 1000 new trees have been planted along rivers in west Norfolk and the Fens, provided free to fisheries by The Environment Agency. Trees play a vital role in improving natural habitats, but they often have to be removed to provide access for flood maintenance and risk initiatives like bank inspections. The extra funding for the free trees comes from the Environment Agency’s flood management team, and they’re appealing to local angling clubs to plant even more new trees along local riverbanks.

Tree planting boosts the improvement of natural river habitats. River swimmers fall foul of water pollution. Some of the nation’s favourite beaches are slammed for poor water quality. The Wokingham area suffers a really nasty chemical spill. And scientists are trying to persuade businesses and the government to treat PFAS chemicals as a class. It’s all go in our world this week.

Are you safe, legal, and environmentally friendly?

Doing water pollution prevention the right way saves our clients large amounts of time, money and hassle. In a world where massive fines are not unusual for water pollution and environment permits are getting ever-stricter, it makes sense to comply in every possible way. We are here to help you achieve exactly that.

If spill containment and CIRIA c736 compliance is currently a consideration for you please do not hesitate to call 0330 223 4372 or email us, we will be very happy to discuss our solutions with you.

David Cole MSEE

David Cole MSEE

Technical Director

David is a pioneer of the spill containment and water pollution prevention industry with 30 years experience. David was instrumental in the development of the CIRIA c736  guidance along with The Environment Agency and is passionate about preventing water pollution.

THE LATEST FROM THE BLOG

Water Pollution Prevention News – Microplastics, Illegal Waste and 100,000 Dead Fish

Water Pollution Prevention – Microplastics, illegal waste, 100,000 dead fish   The mighty River Thames isn't just mighty. It's also filthy, thanks to extraordinary amounts of micro-plastic waste. A football pitch-sized illegal waste site in Cambridgeshire is being...

10 ways to save money on water pollution prevention.

As we all prepare to get back to work we are aware that the water pollution prevention systems that you implement have to be more cost effective and less disruptive than ever. This is the first of ten posts that will demonstrate the ten ways that Penstock Solutions...

Water Pollution Prevention News Water Pollution Special – Global Drinking Water Scandals

Water Pollution Special – Global Drinking Water Scandals Living in a first-world country with plenty of sensible regulations, rules, laws and guidelines in place plus an enforcement agency to make sure they're met, you'd think our drinking water was perfectly clean...

Pollution Containment Device – Control Panel Explainer

Pollution Containment Device - Control Panel Explainer Hello welcome to another one  our toggle block pollution containment device explainer videos, this time I am providing a little bit of an oversight into how the control panel for our valves work. This control...

Appeal for PFAS to be defined as a class, industrial spills, swimmers falling ill, poor water on beaches and free trees.

Scientists appeal for PFAS chemicals to be defined as a class According to the Green Science Policy Institute, all perfluorinated and polyfluorinated substances, also called PFAS, should be treated as a single class, as well as 'avoided for non-essential uses'. The...

Automated Pollution Containment Device – Flood Alarm Activation

Automated Pollution Containment Device - Flood Alarm Activation Hello and welcome to another Sandfield Penstock Solutions video looking at our ToggleBlok system, this time we are linking the pollution containment device to a flood alarm or high level alarm. We are...

Dry rivers, Cotswold river quality concerns, UK-wide Covid-19 sewage monitoring

Dry rivers, Cotswold river quality, UK-wide Covid-19 sewage monitoring Yorkshire's rivers, reservoirs, ponds and lakes are looking worryingly empty thanks to the driest May in recorded history. Rivers in the Cotswolds get a political publicity boost that highlights...

Containment Systems for the Prevention of Pollution – Supplement to CIRIA Report C736 (2014)

CIRIA have started work on a supplement to CIRIA c736 which was launched in 2014. They are looking for feedback from industry. If you are involved in water pollution prevention, spill containment, site or drainage design and you have feedback this is your opportunity...

Back to Work, Fly Tipping, and a Spate of Huge Industrial Fires

Going back to work – Will the world be different? In early April we wrote about the things Covid-19 should be teaching us about the way we have been living. Two months down the line the most of what we were saying is mostly still relevant our optimism that the crisis...

Automated Pollution Containment Device – Control Panel Explainer

Automated Pollution Containment Device - Control Panel Explainer Hello welcome to another one of our ToggleBlok automated pollution containment device instructional videos. In this video I am giving you a little bit of an oversight into how the control panel for our...