The Adige process of Verona PFAS, here is the damage to health suffered by the population

It was the turn of Dr. Francesca Russo, director of the prevention department of the Veneto region, to reconstruct the health screening procedures put in place to assess the impact of Pfas on the health of citizens residing in contaminated areas. The question was addressed during the trial before the Assize Court in which 15 leaders of Miteni, Icig and Mitsubishi Corporation are implicated, accused in various ways of water poisoning, unnamed ecological disaster, management unauthorized waste, environmental pollution and bankruptcy offences.

Between July 2015 and April 2016with the coordination of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità, an exploratory biomonitoring study was carried out to assess the concentrations of PFAS in the blood of a sample of people residing in certain areas prone to pollution and compare them with those of a control sample, not exposed to PFAS through drinking water. In total, more than 500 subjects, aged 20 to 50, residing in 14 municipalities in the Veneto region were involved: these are seven municipalities chosen from among those most exposed along the axes of diffusion of the so- called “plume” of pollution (Montecchio Maggiore, Brendola, Sarego, Lonigo, Altavilla, Creazzo, Sovizzo) and seven control municipalities located in the Venetian plain (Dueville, Resana, Treviso, Carmignano di Brenta, Fontaniva, Loreggia, Mozzecane). The study found significantly higher concentrations of PFOA in the blood of people residing in the areas affected by the contamination compared to the control group (source Ulss 8).

In class, the slides relating to the epidemiological study were presented. Compared to the rest of the Veneto region, the population of the red zone showed, between 2007 and 2014, an excess of mortality from ischemic heart disease equal to +21% in men and +11% in women; an increase in the incidence of cerebrovascular diseases in men + 19%, an increase in the incidence of diabetes mellitus + 25% in women, an increase in the incidence of dementia + 14% in women. Regarding the diseases contracted, residents exposed to Pfas contamination showed a higher incidence than the rest of the population not exposed to Pfas in the Veneto region, there were incidences of high blood pressure (+ 22 % in men and + 20% in women), ischemic heart disease (+ 6% in men and + 8% in women), diabetes mellitus (+ 15% in men and + 17 in women), dyslipidemia ( + 15% in men and + 12% in women) and thyroid disease (+ 17% in men and + 12% in women). Mothers in the red zone showed, between 2003 and 2015, an increase in cases of pre-eclampsia equal to + 49%, gestational diabetes + 69% and had a 30% increase in children born with low birth weight.

“All the surveys carried out by the regional bodies responsible for health surveillance have also been carried out thanks to the collaboration of the aqueducts which have provided the bodies in charge with the data and elements to make the studies possible – explains Professor Angelo Merlin, a lawyer who, together with his colleagues Vittore d’Acquarone and Marco Tonellotto, protects the water companies Acque del Chiampo, Viacqua, Acque Veronesi and Acquevenete as civil parties – let’s not forget that the aqueducts of the red zone, of the orange zone and the yellow zone were the first to intervene (with the installation of very expensive filters) to remedy the pollution since 2013, by making significant economic investments, the constitution in civil action aims to reimburse the citizens for the efforts agreed to put an end to the pollution”.

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