Dioxin eggs: Organic farm threatens to run out

After dioxin-like PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) were discovered in the eggs of two conventional laying hen farms and an organic farm in the Aurich district in April, the organic laying hen farm is now facing the end. Because the dioxin load in the eggs has not yet been resolved.

Comprehensive measures have been carried out on the organic farm since the detection of PCB contamination to identify and eliminate the source of the carcinogenic organic chlorine compounds. But the dioxin load in the eggs just doesn't want to go away. Instead of a drop in PCB values, the re-examination commissioned by the farmer through a Hamburg laboratory has shown a massive increase in pollution. The PCB concentration rose from around seven picograms per gram of egg fat to 94.7 picograms. "This is an exorbitant value that leaves us at a loss," said district veterinarian Dr. Georg Ackermann on Tuesday in response to the daily newspaper "General-Anzeiger" (GA) from Rauderfehn.

Contaminated sites cause of PCB pollution? The measures initiated on the organic farm included, for example, checks on the air in the barn and the feed. The farmer also wanted to solve the problem by excavating the soil. However, the measures had no effect. The PCB load on the eggs continued to skyrocket. While one of the conventional businesses that were blocked due to the PCB is already allowed to sell eggs again, this is not in sight for the organic farm. "The situation is a threat to their existence," said the 31-year-old farmer to the GA. The farmer suspects that the free-range chickens have taken up the pollutants from the soil because the house air and feed had no PCB contamination. He could not prove it, but there was reason to suspect that contaminated contaminated sites were buried on his property. The farmer himself had only acquired the property two years ago in order to set up an organic laying hen farm here.

No prospect of financial support The only way to get rid of the PCB contamination of the soil remains the operation of excavating the soil several meters deep and then backfilling it with unpolluted soil. However, this is so costly that the farmer finds himself unable to finance appropriate measures. Since no support is expected from other parties, the organic farm is now threatened with the end. The managing director of the main agricultural association told the "NDR" that this was an entrepreneurial risk and the farmer could not hope for financial support. However, if contaminated sites on the farmer's property actually triggered the PCB pollution, the question arises as to whether the causer is not still tangible and can be used to remedy the situation.

PCBs accumulate in the human organism PCBs were used in a variety of technical devices such as transformers or capacitors until the 1980s. The organic chlorine compounds were also used as plasticizers in paints, sealants, insulating materials and plastics. If the PCB-containing substances are disposed of improperly (or illegally), this can result in long-term contamination of the soil. Since the PCBs are not broken down in the human organism, they accumulate in the body's own adipose tissue even with the smallest amounts, which can lead to considerable health problems over time. Possible consequences of increased PCB intake are damage to the immune system, liver damage, hair loss and infertility. PCBs are also suspected of being carcinogens. (fp)

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Image: Katharina Scherer / pixelio.de

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