Over a number of years, concerns about the presence of PFAS (short for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) in Flanders have grown. With measurements showing increased PFAS values in a wide area around the 3M production site in Antwerp, the Government of Flanders took steps in June 2021 to map the problem and instigate a coordinated approach to persistent chemical pollution.
Karl Vrancken worked as PFAS Commissioner, appointed by the Government of Flanders, from June 2021 to December 2022. He was tasked with coordinating a structured approach with the partners within the Government of Flanders itself, as well as authorities, government organizations and other stakeholders.
A large number of locations in Flanders (in Dutch) were flagged for further investigation. Typically, the most worrying of these are industrial sites where PFAS is/was produced and used, as well as the training grounds of fire departments and sites of historical fire outbreaks where extinguishing foams containing PFAS had been used in the past.
Reports of the PFAS Commissioner
The PFAS Commissioner released 4 reports, providing science-based analysis and insights, as well as suggestions for policy making. The final report provides a systemic vision on the approach to the PFAS pollution and presents the way forward for a policy on substances of very high concern.