National Round-Up: Denmark’s water riddled with TFA

Elsewhere, there was big news in terms of forced adoption, rail safety and long-term unemployment

A mass screening of groundwater in Denmark has shown traces of the harmful chemical trifluoroacetic acid (TFA).

The Danish Agency for Patient Safety has assessed the findings do not constitute as a health risk to the population, but demanded all municipalities examine their drinking water to be safe.

A high concentration of the substance has also been found in German rainwater, which led Danish authorities to assess its own water resources.

This was the first time such an extensive measure has been carried out – TFA was found in 219 of 247 samples.

READ ALSO: Almost all food products in Denmark adhere to pesticide standards

Multiple possible origins
The Environmental Protection Agency stated that the chemical has been found globally from various sources, such as from the atmosphere via rainwater or from other fluorochemicals.

This constitutes a challenge that Denmark can’t tackle alone and international co-operation is required within the EU.

To handle it locally, the Environment Ministry has already launched an action plan to ensure better protection of drinking water from harmful pesticides.

Denmark to lead new IEA commission
It has emerged that Denmark will lead the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) global green energy commission ‘Our Inclusive Energy Future: The Global Commission on People-Centred Clean Energy Transitions’. The climate minister, Dan Jørgensen, will chair while PM Mette Frederiksen will patron the commission. They will work towards identifying and solving social issues arising from clean energy transition and the first meeting is expected in mid-March.

Government proposes pre-birth forced adoption decision
The government is aiming to make it possible to forcibly remove children from parents before they are born so they can return home to an adoptive family immediately upon birth. As the current law stands, children are removed from parents six hours after birth and consent is required. This is also set to change under the new proposal. Annually, forced adoptions affect 180-200 children in Denmark due to the parents’ inability to raise them because of mental illness, addiction or abuse.

The corona effect: Long-term unemployment doubles in one year
The number of long-term unemployed people in Denmark has doubled over the year of corona-restrictions. Due to these restrictions, jobcentres have been forced to close down while internships and wage subsidies have been suspended. Both are useful tools in terms of getting people into the job market. Labour market researchers are worried about the current tendency, stating that the longer people are unemployed, the harder it is for them to find a job.

Nine instances similar to fatal train accident case
There have been nine recorded cases of loose semi-trailers on freight trains since the day of the fatal Great Belt Bridge train accident in 2019. The incidents all stem from DSB Cargo, which accounts for about half of freight traffic on Danish rails. Now the company is looking into the new cases and will review them in an upcoming audit. The accident in 2019 killed 8 people when a passenger train collided with a loose semi-trailer from a freight train.