Belgium: Scientists To Use Hemp Plant To Clean Soil Contaminated With PFAS 

Hemp Farms Australia > NEWS > Media > Belgium: Scientists To Use Hemp Plant To Clean Soil Contaminated With PFAS 

Antwerp Fire Brigade to use hemp to decontaminate PFAS-polluted soil (

University scientists are working on a pilot project using hemp plants to naturally purify soils contaminated with polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the port village of Lillo, a part of Antwerp.

PFAS of “forever chemicals” are a group of synthetic organofluorine chemical compounds that have multiple fluorine atoms attached to an alkyl chain and have been commonly used in consumer products since the 1950s. While helping make cookware for which the food doesn’t stick, PFAS are not easily degradable in the environment and have been known to have various negative impacts on human health.

The village of Lillo has been contaminated by PFAS from firefighting foam, and the village plans to eventually build a new fire station there but would prefer to clean the place beforehand. This innovative project will use industrial hemp, not marijuana plants, and is a collaboration between the University of Ghent, Phytolutions, and the fire station, writes The Brussels Times.

“The plant is not only good for our circular economy but also has the potential to extract PFAS from contaminated soils. Therefore, research in this area deserves our full support,” said Antwerp’s mayor and head of emergency services, Bart De Wever.

Hemp plants are apparently able to extract notable amounts of PFAS from the ground, storing the pollutants in their leaves which will be destroyed upon the harvest. According to the outlet, similar projects have been done in Zwijndrecht. Results from this initiative are expected by autumn, and if the project turns successful it could be deployed nationwide across the country.


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