sand, sandpit, toy Photo: Bru-nO / Pixabay.

Children’s institutions are investigated for possible PFAS sources

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The Capital Region of Denmark is in the process of reviewing the list of children’s institutions to clarify whether there have previously been companies on the plots that may have used PFAS substances.

The Capital Region of Denmark is aware of approximately 5,000 places where there may have been industries that may have used PFAS substances. It is not possible to review and assess all 5,000 sites at once. Therefore, priority is given to the effort, and here the reasons where there are children’s institutions today are at the top of the list.

-“I can understand if the media coverage of childcare centres on possible PFAS grounds has caused concern among parents and staff. In the Capital Region of Denmark, we give very high priority to children’s health. Therefore, we are in the process of clarifying whether there have been sources of PFAS in the children’s institutions, says Line Ervolder (The Conservative Peoples Party), chairman of the Environment and Climate Committee in the Capital Region of Denmark.

The region focuses on children’s institutions because young children are more exposed to contaminated soil than adults. During play, for example, they may put soil and dirty fingers in their mouths.

Many limit values for harmful substances have been set precisely for the sake of children’s health. But there is no reason to panic if there is PFAS-contaminated soil at some of the children’s institutions in the region, says Paula E. C. Hammer, a specialist in occupational and environmental medicine and a clinical toxicologist at Bispebjerg Hospital and Holbæk Hospital.

-“Often there is not bare soil, but grass, and sandboxes with a bottom in children’s institutions. In addition, the absorption of PFAS via the skin upon contact with contaminated soil is limited. And finally, the general advice to wash your hands after the children have played outside helps to limit the already small absorption through the skin. It’s good and nice to play outdoors and get some fresh air, so children and staff should finally continue to do so,” she says.

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