3M production process shut down after illegal PFAS emissions

Flemish authorities have shut down part of production at chemical company 3M's plant in Zwijndrecht after detecting illegal emissions of PFAS synthetic chemicals.

The plant had to shut down all PFAS-emitting production processes in 2021 after it was found to have caused widespread contamination with the "forever chemical" PFOS. 

Production was later restarted because experts said PFAS emissions were negligible. Tests this week showed that was not the case, partly due to leaks in the process equipment. Flemish authorities shut down the process because exceeding the test levels is prohibited.

As a precautionary measure and pending re-analysis of the other PFAS-related production processes, all PFAS processes at the site have been shut down. The impact of the emissions is being thoroughly investigated. ​ 

"In the meantime, I have also ordered an investigation into how long 3M knew about this without informing the government," said Flemish Environment minister Zuhal Demir (N-VA, Flemish nationalists). 

"In that case, we will not fail to prosecute the company for violating its environmental duty," she said. "As far as I am concerned, any legal step is negotiable after these facts, including cancelling its environmental permit. All options will be considered in the coming weeks."


#FlandersNewsService | © BELGA PHOTO ERIC LALMAND

Related news

Website preview
3M must compensate family for PFAS pollution, Antwerp court rules
A small claims court in Antwerp ruled on Monday that chemical company 3M must pay provisional damages of 2,000 euros to a family from Zwijndrecht...
Website preview
Flemish government approves PFAS action plan
The Flemish government has given the green light to the PFAS action. The plan is aimed at avoiding new major PFAS contamination and monitoring and...

Get updates in your mailbox

By clicking "Subscribe" I confirm I have read and agree to the Privacy Policy.

About belganewsagency.eu

Belga News Agency delivers dependable, rapid and high-quality information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from Belgium and abroad to all Belgian media. The information covers all sectors, from politics, economics and finance to social affairs, sports and culture, not to mention entertainment and lifestyle.

Every day, our journalists and press photographers produce hundreds of photos and news stories, dozens of online information items, plus audio and video bulletins, all in both national languages. Since the end of March 2022 English has been added as a language.

For public institutions, businesses and various organisations that need reliable information, Belga News Agency also offers a comprehensive range of corporate services to meet all their communication needs.


Arduinkaai 29 1000 Brussels