On 6 October 2022, VITO proposed an updated PFAS standards framework that is compatible with Flanders' soil policy. With regard to soil movement, standards for free use and for construction soil use have been calculated and a proposed framework to deal with them. The standards and framework are now under evaluation by stakeholders. There is an indication in the report of the risk that the policy takes with this, as well as the groundwater concentrations that are acceptable as a result. It is up to the policy and the stakeholders to state their position on this.

Regarding the Oosterweel works, the VITO experts carried out an evaluation of the additional contamination of groundwater due to the works. The study clearly shows that there is no increase in groundwater concentration and a reduction in the PFAS load, due to the works. The Flemish government has requested an update based on additional analyses in a note Oosterweel - detailed analysis. This note will be sent to the Flemish government on Wednesday 12 October.

The claim that VITO reacts differently on environment and health than the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) is not correct. RIVM sets advisory values for surface water, to be able to eat fish for life without exceeding the EFSA value. For PFOS, this is then 7pg/l. The risk calculations done by VITO in its recent report give a similar message. It clearly states that calculating through EFSA4 leads to standard values below the background value or the limit of quantification. The difference between the approach of VITO and RIVM is, that VITO then goes a step further to derive possible norm values within the policy framework. In addition, a risk assessment is very clearly carried out.

The method has been evaluated by an expert group, including RIVM. With their report from the Remediation and Earthmoving Committee and the discussion paper, VITO provides full insight into the composition of the standards framework.

In the Flemish Parliament's Environment Committee, a lot of attention went to PFAS and VITO's proposed standards framework. Minister Zuhal Demir pointed out in the committee, "I am disappointed that some members of this committee reject the scientific approach for political reasons, purely on the basis of fallacies." Madam Minister goes on to talk about deliberate disinformation and populism. She is supported in this by Stijn De Roo (CD&V) who praises Zuhal Demir for "opposing disinformation and science populism".

Willem-Frederik Schiltz (Open Vld): "I am very happy that scientific research is at the basis." He talks about the fact that this research was able to be carried out by VITO in "complete freedom and neutrality".

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