2024-01-26

EUROPE – Last year, in February 2023, 18 European newsrooms published a large investigation on 'forever chemicals', revealing that more than 17,000 sites all over Europe have already been contaminated by the PFAS. This project was followed by expert discussions, legal action, and has now widely been used for scientific purposes, too.

The project has attracted the attention of key regulatory and scientific bodies. The data and dataset have been and/or currently are re/used by many journalists, researchers and regulators across Europe, including ETH Zürich (Switzerland), the University of Ljubljana (Slovenia), and the EU-funded project ARAGORN (Achieving Remediation And GOverning Restoration of contaminated soils Now).

Legal action

In autumn 2023, the Royal Society of Chemistry (UK) started a campaign calling on the UK Government to overhaul its PFAS drinking water standards based on our investigation and data.

The peer-reviewed approach to investigation also served as a basis for several criminal prosecutions and legal proceedings in France.

Bills mentioning the project were filed for discussion at the Assemblée nationale in France and at the Senate in Italy.

Academic circles

The database put together by the journalists as the result of this investigation is now being cited in scientific papers and has by now (Jan. 2024) been employed in ten different research projects.

  • It was presented at the conference ‘Health, environment, work: from data to evidence’ (Santé, environnement, travail : des données à la preuve) at SciencesPo Lyon (France), on June 12, 2023.
  • Researchers at the University of Gothenburg (Sweden) published a scientific article based on data from this investigation.

Reference: Moghadasi, R., Mumberg, T., & Wanner, P. (2023). Spatial Prediction of Concentrations of Per-and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in European Soils. Environmental Science & Technology Letters, 10(11), 1125-1129. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.estlett.3c00633 

  • In July 2023, a group of students at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva (Switzerland) used the project's data to produce a research report on “PFAS in Europe: A Violation of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights”

Expert circles

– 14th International HCH (Lindane) & pesticides forum, Zaragoza (Spain), online, 23 February 2023.

– Soil reuse on reconstruction sites in the new Circular Economy era – Available regulatory frameworks and case studies of PFAS-contaminated sites management, National Technical University of Athens (Greece), ENYDRON / Online, 1st September 2023.

– Health and Environmental Alliance (Heal) 20th anniversary, Brussels (Belgium), 3 October 2023.

– CAR-PFAS Japan, Fourth international seminar on the consortium for analysis and remediation of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances in Japan, online, 10 October 2023.

Presenting data for international and national bodies

The team was invited to present its findings and methodology to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the European Commission, among others.

– Side event of the United Nations’ Conference of the parties of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, Geneva (Switzerland), 02 May 2023.

– Annual meeting of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Global Soil Partnership International Network on Soil Pollution (INSOP), online, 14 June 2023.

– European Commission Annual Forum on Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals, Brussels (Belgium), 20 October 2023.

It will also be further discussed in 2024:

– Tackling PFAS pollution & Launch Knowledge Center Innovative Remediation Solutions, Belgian presidency of the European Union, Government of Flanders, Antwerp (Belgium), 1-2 February 2024.

– Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Global Forum on the Environment dedicated to Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances, Paris (France) 12 February 2024.

Coming soon: Scientific paper

The team has submitted a scientific paper version of the project to the major scientific journal Environmental Science & Technology, with the draft title PFAS Contamination in Europe: Generating knowledge and mapping known and likely PFAS contamination with ‘expert-reviewed’ journalism. It is currently under peer-review.

Human Trafficking Manuel for Journalists

New Handbook is Out: “Human Trafficking - Manual For Journalists”

2024-01-26

BRUSSELS - This Manual has been prepared with the intention of providing basic information about the issue of human trafficking, particularly trafficking in women, to all those who write or wish to write about this problem. The handbook has been supported by Journalismfund Europe's Modern Slavery Unveiled programme

GIJC 2023 Sweden climate agenda report

'The Investigative Agenda for Climate Journalism': Read Full Report

2024-01-26

GOTHENBURG – What are the priorities for accountability-focused climate change journalism? 80 investigative journalists and leading experts discussed them during a day-long meeting that took place with support from Journalismfund Europe at the pre-conference of GIJC 2023. A full report has now been made available.

Wildfire’s Causes and Effects: Two Investigations Of Southern Europe’s Disasters

2024-02-15

SARDINIA / EVIA / EXTREMADURA / LEIRIA / ODOU - Megafires have become a staple chapter in southern Europe, particularly affecting the most remote regions that are not taken sufficient care of. What does the escalating frequency of fires indicate for our future? Two cross-border teams of journalists have tried to raise awareness of the issue and prove that European countries need a better common strategy to respond to this threat.