Flanders places Shamrock Technologies under increased surveillance over PFAS emissions

Flanders has placed Shamrock Technologies under increased surveillance after the company's site in Tongeren was found to be emitting PFAS early last year. 

Shamrock Technologies develops speciality natural and synthetic wax additives. The company operates on three continents and sells to more than 100 countries.

The Flemish Environmental Inspectorate visited the site in Tongeren for the first time in 2022 to carry out air emission measurements. The measurements showed the presence of several PFAS substances.

PFAS is the umbrella term for thousands of "forever chemicals", or virtually non-biodegradable synthetic substances. They are used in a wide range of products, including raincoats, smartphones and fireproof foam.

The activity causing PFAS was stopped in January last year and transferred to the US

In June 2021, Flanders was rocked by an environmental scandal when, during construction work on the Antwerp ring road, large amounts of PFAS contamination were discovered around Zwijndrecht caused by a plant belonging to the chemical company 3M.

The activity causing PFAS emissions at the Shamrock Technologies site in Tongeren was stopped in January last year and transferred to the US, but the investigation into the effects of the emissions is still ongoing. The US Environmental Protection Agency has been informed of Flanders' findings.

Shamrock Technologies is being inspected by the Environmental Inspectorate to check for other possible sources of PFAS. The public waste agency OVAM has also been asked to check whether the emissions have caused soil contamination. 

To ensure maximum protection of the health of local residents and workers at the plant, the Flemish Public Health Service has been asked to assess whether any measures are needed. At the moment this is not the case. 


#FlandersNewsService | A blood sample taken during a press event to mark the start of blood testing for PFAS among residents living near 3M's Zwijndrecht plant © BELGA PHOTO JONAS ROOSENS

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