EUROPE - More than 17.000 sites all over Europe are contaminated by the “forever chemical” PFAS, an exclusive, monthslong investigation from 18 European newsrooms shows. The investigation “The Forever Pollution Project” reveals an additional 22.000 presumptive contamination sites due to current or past industrial activity. The contamination revealed by this project spreads all over Europe.

In early February 2023, the European Chemicals Agency ECHA published a ban proposal on all PFAS – or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. “The Forever Pollution Project” can now reveal that there is way more contamination all over Europe than has been publicly known. The journalists gathered 100 datasets and filed dozens of FOIA requests to build a first-of-its-kind map of PFAS contamination in Europe.

The project shows that there are 20 manufacturing facilities and more than 2.300 sites in Europe that can be considered PFAS hotspots – places where contamination reaches levels considered to be hazardous to the health of people exposed to them. The problem: It’s extremely expensive to get rid of these chemicals, once they have found their way into the environment. The cost of remediation will likely reach the tens of billions of Euros. In several places, the authorities have already given up and decided to keep the toxic chemicals in the ground, because it’s not possible to clean them up.

Photo credit: Thomas Steffen - Le Monde

Team members

Tim Luimes

Tim Luimes is a freelance investigative journalist based in The Netherlands.

Tim Luimes

Stéphane Horel

Stéphane Horel (France) works as an investigative journalist for Le Monde.

Stéphane Horel

Tomas Vanheste

Tomas Vanheste is a Belgian investigative journalist.

Tomas Vanheste

Sarah Pilz

Sarah Pilz is a freelance investigative journalist from Germany.

Sarah Pilz

Gianluca Liva

Gianluca Liva is an Italian science journalist and science communicator.

Gianluca Liva
€42.850 granted dd. 23/02/2022





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