However, despite the cleaning carried out by Solvay, the neighbors of the plant still got sick in unexplained ways. Alice Linaz from Spinetta Marengo. She saw many of her relatives affected. Her father died of kidney cancer in 2015. Her aunt had leukemia Acute myelomeningocele. We met her a few weeks after the funeral of her uncle, who also left because of two brain tumors: “We were doing a cancer tour in the hospital. I’ll see my dad first, then while I’m there, I’ll see my aunt and a family friend who has something in his stomach. Everyone has cancer in this family. Cancer became the rhythm. It’s the wrong blow we’re dancing to.”
Cancer has become the rhythm
At the end of 2019, a epidemiological study Published by the Regional Environmental Protection Agency ARPA, will confirm the feelings of residents. she They analyzed the people living within a 3 km radius of the Solvay plant. She included all diseases by collecting hospital admission data between 2001 and 2017. She then compared these residents with residents of the neighboring town of Alessandria more than 3 kilometers away. The results are promising. In Spinetta, residents face an increased risk of developing liver tumors (30%), kidney cancer (76%), hypertension (8%), respiratory disease (47%) and that’s not all.
Increase in cardiovascular disease
“What we showed is an increase in neurodegenerative diseases, especially in children who live in the area closest to the plant. There is also an increase in cardiovascular disease. This is very, very important, because we know that endocrine disruptors, and in particular PFAS, one of their actions is to disrupt the body and specifically increase cholesterol. All of these increases I mention are statistically significant valuesComments by Christina Ivaldi, an epidemiologist at the Regional Environmental Protection Agency (ARPA).
This study has not yet established a causal relationship between Solvay chemicals and disease. To establish an association, it will be necessary to test the population with blood samples. However, the ARPA epidemiologist dropped the word: Famous PFAS Company”eternal chemicalsIt could play a role.
It’s part of Solvay’s specialized polymer manufacturing process. It is the goose that lays golden eggs for the Belgian group. They represent the largest share of its sales (2.173 billion euros in 2021). Thanks to the almost indestructible properties of PFAS, Solvay is developing special polymers capable of, for example, making airplanes or cars lighter.
Despite our multiple requests for several months, we will never have the opportunity to visit this factory or even meet a manager directly. Solvay will only contact us in writing.
On May 17, the communications department wanted to tell us that PFAS is being used in a very strict manner: “[…] At Spinetta, we apply the latest technology that allows us to eliminate nearly 100% of emissions of fluorinated surfactants. We use fluorinated surfactants in the production of specific polymers that require very specific properties in terms of their resistance. They are produced in a closed cycle and strictly controlled in order to avoid emissions into water and air. The message Solvay wants to convey is clear: The multinational is constantly investing in closing down its facilities.
At Spinetta, Solvay used PFOA until 2013. PFOA is one of the most toxic types of PFAS. Dr Corinne Charlier, Head of Clinical Toxicology at Liège University Hospital, knows very well its impact on health: “in We are sure of its effects, we know there is an effect on thyroid function. We know there is an increase in cholesterol. There is a decrease in the proper functioning of the liver. We have seen kidney cancer and testicular cancer. And during pregnancy, it is clearly always the most complex time for fetal exposure. For a child, there are developmental problems. We have a baby who is born with a lower birth weight when the mother is exposed to it. We also have a poor response to vaccination.“