Contaminated eggs found in areas near factories
The government has been urged to make a serious effort to combat persistent organic pollutants (POPS), toxic byproducts from industrial processes, from damaging the environment after a recent study found unsafe levels of POPs in eggs collected near factories in Samut Sakhon and Khon Kaen.
Though the levels of POPs were not alarming, levels of contamination in eggs from free-range chickens were "rather high", suggesting some types of POPs are entering the food chain, according to the study, unveiled by environmental groups Ecological Alert and Recovery Thailand (Earth) and the Czech-based Arnika Association.
An egg tested by experts during their visit to Samut Sakhon's Muang district was found to have 84.04 nanogrammes per kilogramme of dioxins and furans, which is 33 times higher than the safety limit set by the European Union.
Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) was also found in the amount of 95.71 nanogrammes per kilogramme, or 19 times more than the EU's standard.
Dioxins and furans are known to be harmful to the immune system and fertility in humans. Some types of dioxins and PCBs are carcinogenic. Another carcinogen, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH), was also found in "high levels" in eggs collected in a community near factories in Khon Kaen's Nam Phong district.
"We clearly found contamination in Samut Sakhon's Muang district, so villagers living near factories need help," said Jindrich Petrilik, a key researcher with the Arnika Association.
Samut Sakhon and Khon Kaen were among six provinces in the study. The other areas were Map Ta Phut in Rayong, tambon Tha Tum in Prachin Buri, cement production areas in Sara Buri and Surat Thani's Koh Samui district.
The study, which examined soil, marine animals and eggs, was conducted between 2015 and 2017.
"Authorities must contain the contamination more seriously," Earth director Penchome Sae-Tang said. Thailand, she said, needs to take serious action as it is committed to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.
An official source at the Pollution Control Department said the department had also found evidence of POP contamination in samples of soil, air and water from industrial sites, including Map Ta Phut and Prachin Buri. The authority has now imposed maximum emission levels on factories and pledged to continue monitoring the situation.