The Institute of Health and Welfare studied the exposure of young children to toxic PFAS chemicals, and children from Turku clearly had the highest concentrations. The cause is unknown.
From children from Turku higher concentrations of toxic pfas chemicals were measured than children in other cities, reports HS on Tuesday.
There has been a discussion about whether Turku’s drinking water has a part in it.
THL’s research manager Panu Rantakoko according to which it is not known what is the cause of the different results of Turku children. For example, there is no evidence of the effect of drinking water.
He says that one-year-olds are most exposed to PFAs through breastfeeding. An individual water test therefore tells very little about the situation, because the concentrations of PFAS compounds in children are determined by the mother’s long history of exposure, says Rantakokko.
“Therefore, it is not possible to directly say whether water plays a role or not,” he states.
Rantakokko wants to emphasize that breast milk is the best nutrition for a baby, despite the PFAs compounds.
Turku drinking water is a municipal association of artificial groundwater produced by Turku region water. The water comes from Kokemäenjoki.
Water quality is monitored by both Turku region’s water and Turku water supply, owned by the city of Turku, which is responsible for supplying clean water.
CEO of Turku region water Aki Artimo says that they have been contacted about this after HS Turku made news about the pfas content.
He says that the water in the Turku region measured pfas concentrations in the years 2012–2016 in connection with a project led by THL.
“Samples were taken from raw water, i.e. Kokemäenjoki. Artificial groundwater is absorbed from it, which is fed to consumers as drinking water. In addition to Kokemäenjoki, concentrations were also measured in the area of the artificial groundwater plant, i.e., in a way, the finished product.”
Artimo says that more than 450 pfas composite samples were taken and analyzed in connection with the project. In addition to PFAS compounds, for example drug concentrations were studied in the water.
According to Artimo, the concentrations of PFAS compounds were “terribly low”.
Leading investigator Nora Perkola The Finnish Environmental Center (Syke) was involved in the project. He agrees with Artimo: the measured concentrations were not high.
Perkola says that the total concentration of PFAS compounds detected in the artificial groundwater in the project was on average less than 4 nanograms per liter.
For comparison, Perkola says that in the raw water samples taken from different parts of Finland in 2015–2016, the average concentrations were slightly lower, about one nanogram per liter. In places, however, the concentrations were at the same level or even higher than the artificial groundwater concentrations observed in the project.
Artimo says that the water in the Turku region is taking measurements again next year.
Finn domestic water is the best quality in the world, Artimo states.
“People are easily scared by something like that and then resort to bottled water, for example, if they don’t dare to drink tap water. In Finland, tap water is almost always safer and cleaner than bottled water.”
Artimo has no information about the concentrations in the water produced by the Tampere and Oulu water utilities, for example.
Syken in 2019 publishing in the study on river waters, by far the highest PFAS concentrations were found in the Vantaanjoki.
Health and the Norwegian Institute of Welfare (THL) investigated the exposure of young children to toxic PFAS chemicals in three different cities – Turku, Tampere and Oulu. The highest concentrations were clearly measured in the blood of Turku children. Pfas concentrations were measured in 2020, when the children were one year old.
Almost all samples fell below the safe intake limit value set in the EU.
THL’s by humans are exposed to PFAS chemicals mainly through food.
Pfas compounds have been used, for example, in Teflon pans, outdoor clothing, protective sprays for shoes, ski creams and extinguishing foams.