Exposure to Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) can lead to serious health effects, including certain cancers, birth defects, dysfunctional immune and reproductive systems, greater susceptibility to disease, and damage to the central and peripheral nervous systems. A recent joint study by Moldovan and Czech experts revealed the presence of significant persistent organic pollutants in chicken eggs. These findings raise concerns about the contamination of human food and its consequences on the health of local people.
In a news conference at IPN, Ilya Trombitsky, executive director of the Eco-TIRAS International Association of River Keepers of Moldova, said that free-range egg samples and soil samples were collected in two localities with waste landfills located nearby and in one locality situated near an industrial part, where tyre pyrolysis, asphalt production, and other industrial activities take place. The analyses showed POP levels exceed EU norms 12 times.
The topic of unintentionally produced POPs relates closely to the issue of waste management. “There are landfills where hotbeds appear and that waste that includes plastic used to make windows always smolders. This waste contains chlorine and dioxins form at high temperatures. When these reach private homes owing to wind they are consumed by hens and get into eggs. The people often believe that they purchase organic products from villages. For the people to become poisoned, they do not need a large quantity,” stated the director of Eco-TIRAS.
The business lobby is calling for the ban on tyre burning to be lifted. An amendment to the law allowing this practice has been postponed thanks to the protests of civil organizations which demand that the technological processes of incineration should be under the control of the state in order to prevent emissions of toxic substances such as dioxins and furans formed during incineration.
“High levels of dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls that exceed the EU standards for food by up to three and a half times were measured in the eggs from Dumbrava. It is an indicator that tyre pyrolysis or other industrial sources in the nearby Vatra industrial zone can be significant sources of toxic chemicals,” said Jindřich Petrlík, one of the study’s authors, explaining that the exposure of people to organic pollutants through food may lead to serious health effects, including certain types of cancer, birth defects, dysfunctional immune and reproductive systems, etc.
The chemical analyses performed at a scientific laboratory in France also revealed serious contamination of the eggs from Ciobanovca, close to the biggest Chisinau landfill, with obsolete pesticides containing POPs and polychlorinated biphenyls. It signals a need to improve the register of stockpiles of these substances, including buildings left without any remediation after stocks of POPs were removed from them. These contaminated buildings can remain serious hotspots of pollution. All these findings indicate that there is a strong need for a more robust monitoring system and data collection regarding the occurrence of POPs in the Moldovan environment. Otherwise, the risk cannot be managed properly, said Jindřich Petrlík.
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