European wild boar found with five times ‘forever chemicals’ safe limit

The animals had significantly higher quantities of PFAS in their bodies than would legally allowed to be sold under European Union law. 

Researchers at The James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen, and the University of Graz, Austria, wante to assess the presence of harmful chemicals in the environment, focusing on wild boar living in the Bohemian Forest National Park, Czechia. 

According to the ‘bio indicators’, the species was found to have five times the toxic PFAS ‘forever chemicals’ than would be permitted in meat sold for human consumption. The compounds are particularly problematic for the environment due to how long it takes for them to breakdown and degrade. Their presence is linked to fertility issues, and serious health concerns including cancer and liver damage. 

‘The level of contamination in the wild boar in the national park is a cause for concern. We are now finding PFAS everywhere, but that it’s at levels above those allowed for human consumption in food – and wild boar meat and offal is consumed by humans – is a worry,’ said Viktoria Müller, a researcher at the Hutton, who supported the study as part of her PhD research at the University of Graz.

‘However, pinpointing why the levels were higher in the park would need a bigger study. The profile of the types of PFAS found in the park matched those generally found at ‘background’ levels, suggesting atmospheric deposition, from rain and wind for example,’ she continued. ‘But the high concentrations we found suggest deeper investigation is needed.’

This latest research follows projects that found PFAS traces on the Austrian ski slopes and the River Yangtze, attributed to food packaging and textile treatments. For the Bohemia project, the livers of 30 wild boar were tested, taken from the bodies of those culled as part of annual population control measures. Analysis looked for 30 PFAS, and found a median of 230μg/kg – almost five times the maximum amount allowed in game offal under existing European laws.

Boar were chosen specifically because of their broad diet – the species is known to eat most things it finds, including plants and small animals, alongside soil – and therefore they can offer a good gauge of ‘background’ PFAS levels in the environment.

More on waste and recycling: 

Scottish construction crisis: 15 years of resources remain, circularity needed

Farming soil created from desert with ‘forever fertile’ animal waste product

Anti-toxin mural removes pollution in London on Clean Air Day

Image: Paul Henri Degrande 


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Help us break the news – share your information, opinion or analysis
Back to top