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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 December 2 - 8  > High level PFOA found in blood of residents living near Daikin factory in Osaka
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2020 December 2 - 8 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

High level PFOA found in blood of residents living near Daikin factory in Osaka

December 3, 2020

A study by an environmental health specialist has revealed that high levels of the toxic chemical PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) were found in the blood samples of residents in Settsu City in Osaka Prefecture.

Kyoto University Professor Emeritus of health and environmental sciences Koizumi Akio in July carried out the study following the Environment Ministry’s survey data which was published the previous month. According to the data, the levels of PFOA in groundwater samples gathered in Settsu City were excessively high, exceeding the government-set provisional maximum permissible levels. The ministry conducted the survey to check the levels of PFOA and another harmful chemical PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonateper) in groundwater and other water sources across Japan.

In Settsu City, a factory of Japan’s leading air conditioning manufacturer, Daikin Industries, Ltd., manufactured and used PFOA until 2015. Accordingly, the factory is considered to be a potential source of the chemical contamination of the groundwater.

Following the release of the Environment Ministry data, Japanese Communist Party member of the Settsu City Assembly Ando Kaoru urged the city authority to investigate the extent of water contamination. However, the city government rejected his request by saying that the national government’s standard is a provisional one and does not designate a legal ban.

JCP Ando said, “PFOA is banned under the Stockholm Convention, an international treaty regulating toxic chemicals, and regarded as a hazardous substance worldwide. The Japanese government should set up effective regulations and standards to protect the public health.”

PFOA is said to cause cancer and serious health problems including low-birth-weight babies. The Japanese government in 2020 established a provisional target standard of 50 nanograms per liter as the maximum permissible amount of PFOA and PFOS in drinking water as well as in rivers and lakes.
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