By Chris King •
Updated: 19 Nov 2023 • 16:54
Image of water coming out of a tap.
AROUND 10 years ago, high levels of the health-hazardous chemicals PFAS were measured in the blood of thousands of residents of Kallinge in Blekinge.
Subsequent tests revealed that in December 2013 there were sky-high levels of PFAS in the drinking water of the small mining town located in Ronneby Municipality.
A lengthy legal process was launched which has run for many years but it is now expected to reach a conclusion in the very near future.
The Supreme Court verdict should finally determine whether the contaminated water drank by the victims entitles them to receive compensation or not.
‘We know that the residents of Kallinge have been exposed to the substance, and we know that it poses a health risk. But what proof requirements do you have the right to place on people who have been exposed to such dangerous substances for such a long time?’, said Mattias Öberg, a toxicologist at Karolinska Institutet.
‘That question is super important’, stressed the specialist who has researched PFAS for a long time, reported svt.se.
Residents of Kallinge sued the municipal water company Ronneby Miljöteknik after the hazardous chemicals were found in their drinking supplies.
PFAS is a collective name for a range of chemicals which are linked to several serious diseases. Studies have shown connections between PFAS and various forms of cancer, thyroid problems and hormone disorders.
A verdict by the District Court ruled that the residents had the right to claim for damages but the Court of Appeal subsequently overturned that verdict.
‘This judgment will be precedential for several different types of environmental toxins, which have the same slow process as PFAS. It is an important part of consumer protection’, explained Öberg.
The foam used by the Armed Forces during fire drills since the mid-80s on the F17 air flotilla contains PFAS. It was believed that this was the source of the contamination in the town’s drinking water supply.
Mattias Öberg suggested this was Sweden’s biggest environmental scandal of all time: ‘The permitted content of PFAS in drinking water is 90 nanograms per litre, but from 2023, the new and significantly lower limit value of 4 nanograms began to apply. When PFAS was discovered in Kallinge, it was 10,380 nanograms per litre’.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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