In 2019, the City of Beringen in Belgium commissioned ToxicoWatch to perform biomonitoring research on dioxins (PCDD/F) and dioxin-like PCB (dl-PCB) concerning the possible emissions of the WtE Bionerga waste incineration plant. The biomonitoring study will take a total of three years. The first measurement series took place in October 2019, before WtE plant Bionerga started in production. The second biomonitoring research is performed in October 2021, the third will be performed in the autumn of 2022.
Chicken eggs from eight private hobby chicken coops are used as biomarkers of dioxins. The most recent results in 2021 show increases in dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs on 4 egg locations. The highest increased value is measured at a location of 1200 metres northeast of the waste incinerator with 338 % of furans (PCDF) and 421 % of the most toxic dioxin-like PCB 126. The reference site located southwest of the WtE incinerator has an increase of more than 100% of dioxins (PCDD) and more than 200% of furans (PCDF). Remarkably, the increase of dioxins at certain egg locations corresponds to specific combustion congeners, as chemical analyses show. The fingerprint of the emissions of the incinerator resembles the fingerprints found in the eggs of the biomonitoring locations. Analysis of Bergerhoff jars shows elevated values of dioxins during start-up and in the operational phase of the waste incinerator in Beringen.
Bioassay DR CALUX analyses show higher values at all egg locations in Beringen, indicating the presence of other Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), like brominated dioxins (PBDD), which are out of scoop of the EU mandated chemical GC-MS analysis, (still) not regulated.
PowerPoint presentation (English) and report (Dutch).