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15 July, 2024
 
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Hidden threat: Trifluoroethanoic acid found in European drinking water

Unseen chemical raises health concerns in tap and bottled water

Newsroom

A recent study has uncovered a concerning issue in Europe's drinking water: the presence of trifluoroethanoic acid (TFA), a chemical that current tests don't detect. The study, conducted by PAN Europe, found TFA in tap water and bottled mineral water across several European countries.

The research, which followed PAN Europe's initial survey in May revealing widespread contamination of European waterways by TFA, analyzed 55 water samples from 11 countries, including France, Germany, Spain, and Belgium. They discovered TFA in 94% of tap water samples and 63% of bottled water samples.

TFA comes from certain pesticides and fluorinated gases used in cooling systems. It poses potential health risks, including liver damage, reproductive issues, and developmental delays.

TFA comes from the breakdown of certain pesticides and fluorinated gases used in cooling systems. It poses potential health risks, including liver damage, reproductive issues, and developmental delays. While the specific effects on human health aren't fully understood, studies suggest long-term exposure could be harmful.

The highest TFA concentration was found in Upper Austria, reaching 4,100 nanograms per liter, followed by Paris with 2,100 nanograms per liter in its water supply.

The European Environment Agency is calling for stricter regulations, as TFA isn't currently monitored or regulated in drinking water. The European Union plans to establish a limit of 500 nanograms per liter for total PFAS (including TFA) in 2026, aiming to protect public health.

This discovery underscores the urgent need for improved monitoring and regulation to ensure safe drinking water across Europe.

[Information from PAN Europe and Le Monde]

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Cyprus  |  health  |  Europe  |  water

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