PCB contamination in the egg from contaminated soil

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Contaminated asphalt causes the PCB contaminated eggs

After weeks of guesswork about the causes of the PCB contamination in the eggs from an organic farm in the district of Oldenburg, there is finally clarity. The operation was closed at the beginning of May due to significant limit violations, since then the authorities have been looking for the source of the pollution. "The reason for the maximum value exceeding with non-dioxin-like PCBs in eggs of a company from the district of Oldenburg has now been determined," said yesterday's announcement by the Lower Saxony Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Consumer Protection and Regional Development. When examining soil materials from the run-out area of ​​the company, significantly increased PCB values ​​were found.

Asphalt material Cause of the PCB load Almost a month ago, the maximum in the eggs of the farm was exceeded, with 80 nanograms of PCB (polychlorinated biphenyls) per gram of egg fat; where only 40 nanograms are permitted. Operation has been blocked. But significantly more than 400,000 eggs had already been "delivered to the packing station in various federal states and the Netherlands by the end of April," reports the Lower Saxony Ministry of Agriculture. A comprehensive recall campaign followed. Since then, the authorities have been looking for the source of the PCB pollution. The evaluation of the soil samples has now shown that high levels of PCB and dioxins are contained in the asphalt material that was used to secure the floor in the area of ​​the exit fence. "According to the available test results, it can be assumed that this material was the reason for the entry of the PCB in the food chain," said the Ministry of Agriculture in Hanover on Friday. The hens probably picked up the material while pecking.

Refurbishment of PCB contaminated soil promised According to the Lower Saxony Ministry of Agriculture, the organic farm from Oldenburg has promised to rehabilitate the spout and also to remove the asphalt under the spout fence. This was originally applied there to prevent the chickens from scratching their way to freedom. After removing the contaminated material and producing a new surface, the company is to be equipped with new laying hens. The 1,800 chickens, which laid fresh organic eggs here every day until the beginning of May, have already been killed due to the PCB load. Once the shortcomings have been remedied, "egg production can be resumed, with close official control of the farm being continued for the time being," explained the Lower Saxony Ministry of Agriculture. The ministry could not say in what form the subsoil should be renovated or designed in the future, as this was the responsibility of the companies.

PCB pollution in other companies Although the investigation of PCB pollution in the Oldenburg organic farm is quite gratifying, increased PCB and / or dioxin pollution has also been detected in the eggs of some other farms in recent months. For example, eggs from three farms in the Aurich district (Lower Saxony) and one farm in the North Rhine-Westphalian district of Borken suffered a corresponding burden. What causes the contamination of the eggs here is still unclear. According to the Lower Saxony Ministry of Agriculture, the results of the samples from Aurich can be expected in two weeks at the earliest. According to information from the North Rhine-Westphalian State Office for Nature, Environment and Consumer Protection (LANUV), soil samples for laboratory tests were also taken from the Borken plant, but the results are still pending.

Little outrage about dioxin and PCB scandals Again and again, excessive levels of dioxins and PCBs are detected in eggs. In most cases, there is no acute health risk, but as hardly biodegradable environmental toxins, the potentially carcinogenic substances accumulate in the organism over time and any increased intake of PCB or dioxin can have a negative impact on health. However, as one report of contaminated breakfast eggs has replaced the other in the past few months, consumers are already beginning to dull. The public outrage about the latest reports of PCB-contaminated eggs from the company in the Borken district was rather limited. However, the numerous dioxin scandals of recent years have caused reactions at least on the part of politicians. An early warning system was established that, among other things, obliges private laboratories to immediately inform the responsible authorities if dioxin values ​​are detected above the limit value. As the contamination often originated from the feed, the penalty for manufacturers of contaminated feed was also increased. Overall, politicians hope this will help prevent contaminated breakfast eggs from reaching the market in the future.

Stricter controls of eggs for PCB and dioxin In the short term, however, the stricter regulations - particularly in the area of ​​reporting requirements - lead to more cases of dioxin and PCB contamination becoming known to the public, said the Lower Saxony Minister of Agriculture Gert Lindemann (CDU). Lindemann also sees the current evidence as confirmation of the successful implementation of stricter control mechanisms. Lindemann explained to the “world” that the cases show “that the surveillance works and the stress is noticed more quickly.” The Lower Saxony Minister of Agriculture added that “more cases will become known in the future than we were used to in the past.” Lindemann emphasized the danger of the public becoming dull compared to the reports of contaminated breakfast eggs: "We have to expect the population to cope with this transparency", because in an emergency it is "important that the findings are published immediately and the consumers are informed."

PCB contamination of the soil The current reports of PCB and dioxin in the breakfast egg may just be the tip of the iceberg. In contrast to the increased pollution that had occurred in the past due to contaminated feed, the cause of the contamination at the Oldenburger Bio-Hof is the PCB concentration in the soil and the pollution from the Aurich and Borken farms could also come from the subsurface . But in most cases this has been here for years, so that the contamination should have been noticed earlier. Contaminated soil, such as PCB-containing waste oils, is often the cause of contamination, according to the authorities. The actual pollution could have been years ago and could have been caused by previous production processes, for example. A spokesman for the North Rhine-Westphalian State Office for Nature, Environment and Consumer Protection in Recklinghausen said that polychlorinated biphenyls are a chemical "material that can be found in transformer oil, for example." in which such substances have been disposed of illegally. ”According to Lindemann, another possibility of contamination could be the unnoticed leakage of oil from a machine, which then seeps into the ground and causes a point load. (fp)

Read on:
Dioxin eggs: Soil is eliminated as a source
Dioxin in eggs: The scandal is spreading
Circles withheld information about PCB eggs
Dioxin eggs also in Lower Saxony
Dioxin in organic eggs: causes still unknown
Easter with dioxin eggs from the organic farm
Dioxin eggs may have been on the market
Easily recognize fresh eggs
Health risk from dioxin eggs

Video: In-Situ Biological Treatment of Contaminated Soil

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