Polluted with PFOA

1000-Person PFAS Epidemiological Survey Has Begun/Due to The Spread of Contamination Throughout Osaka

2023.11.15 15:09 Nanami Nakagawa

The nation’s largest PFAS epidemiological survey has finally begun in Osaka Prefecture. The “Osaka PFAS Contamination and Health Study Group,” which is made up of doctors, scientists, and citizens, led the initiative.

Tansa has previously reported on the situation of PFOA pollution caused by Daikin Industries’ Yodogawa Plant located in Settsu City, Osaka. PFOA is a type of PFAS. Levels of PFOA that would be harmful to health if ingested were found in rivers, groundwater, soil, and agricultural products in Settsu City, and high concentrations of PFOA were also found in the blood of citizens.

However, PFOA pollution is not limited to Settsu City. The Ministry of the Environment, Osaka Prefecture, and Kyoto University conducted a survey and discovered that contamination is spreading throughout the prefecture, including Settsu City and nearby Osaka City.

In response to this situation, doctors in Osaka Prefecture and researchers at Kyoto University stepped up. They are conducting PFAS blood tests on 1,000 prefectural residents, the largest in Japan, to understand the health effects of PFAS. The aim is to connect citizens who have been exposed to high concentrations to appropriate treatment.

In addition, they will hold Daikin accountable based on the data and demand that the government take appropriate action.

Formation of an association led by doctor’s groups

On November 11, 2023, a press conference was held at a venue in Osaka CIty to announce the launch of the “Osaka PFAS Contamination and Health Study Group.”

The members of the association are as follows:


OSHIMA, Tamiki

Doctor, Chairman of Osaka Min-iren, Director of Aikawa Clinic

Expert Association Chair


Doctor, Director of Osaka Institute of Social Medicine

Secretary General


Yodogawa Workers Welfare Association

Acting Secretary General


Secretary General of Osaka Min-iren

Management Board/Secretariat

AKIHISA, Hideaki

Doctor, Director of Himejima Clinic


Chairman of Association to Eliminate Pollution from Osaka


Secretary General of Association to Eliminate Pollution from Osaka


Secretary General of Settsu “PFOA Pollution Study Group”


Settsu “PFOA Pollution Study Group”


Deputy Secretary General of Osaka Min-iren





Doctor, Kyoto University Professor Emeritus


The association was created in response to the growing crisis of PFAS pollution in Osaka Prefecture. Despite concerns of PFAS pollution not only in Settsu City but also throughout Osaka Prefecture, with the Yodogawa Plant as the epicenter, Daikin, the government, and Osaka Prefecture are failing to take adequate measures.

Since July of this year, doctors, scientists, and citizens have gathered together and made preparations to form the association.

The association’s representative, Dr. Tamiki Oshima, points out, “Originally, governments and companies should conduct their own investigations, but unfortunately, it is insufficient.” He added, “After we have a full grasp on the situation, we will make the necessary suggestions.”

“This is an issue that affects not only Settsu residents, but all of Osaka Prefecture,” stated Secretary General Fumio Nagase. He explained the reasons for the association’s formation, adding, “Both Osaka Prefecture and the national government say there is no health hazard. Then we’ll have to do it (the survey) ourselves.”

This epidemiological survey will be the largest in Japan, far exceeding the approximately 600 people tested in the Tama area of Tokyo. The test will cost 27,500 yen per person, amounting to 30 million yen, including the cost of the testing site and document preparation. Kyoto University and the Osaka Federation of Democratic Medical Institutions (Osaka Min-Iren) are raising the funds and collecting donations to carry out the project, but they plan to ask Daikin to bear the costs as well, as they seek to hold polluters responsible.

They intend to test 1,000 people’s blood by the end of the year, and they have already finished roughly 30% of the tests. Mr. Nagase provided the following update on the analysis’s progress:

“Some people alarmingly exceed the standard value. If it reaches 1,000 people, we’ll know something. Based on this data, we will request the national government, Osaka prefecture, and the company to take measures.”

The association also plans to open a PFAS consultation clinic for those who have been exposed to high concentrations of PFAS and to give proper treatment.

Large-scale epidemiological survey in the United States proved responsibility of polluting company

In the United States, as a result of an epidemiological survey using blood tests, DuPont, the manufacturer of PFOA, admitted responsibility.

Like Daikin, DuPont is one of the world’s eight largest manufacturers of PFOA. PFOA was manufactured at a factory in West Virginia. High concentrations of PFOA were detected in surrounding rivers and in the blood of residents tested, prompting residents to file a lawsuit against DuPont.

The suit was settled in 2004, with DuPont paying $70 million to the residents. The settlement also included a provision that DuPont would pay $5 million to support an epidemiological survey on 70,000 people, to be conducted by the group of independent scientists.

In 2012, a study confirmed six types of health effects caused by PFOA, including gestational hypertension, testicular cancer, and thyroid disease. DuPont was forced to accept responsibility for its own PFOA pollution.

Robert Bilot, the lawyer who handled the DuPont case, told Tansa upon inquiry:

“They were the biggest human health studies ever done on any chemical. They were conducted by independent scientists who looked at all of the data and confirmed [that PFOA] was linked to those six diseases. The companies are still denying that to this day, but the science is there.”

(Originally published in Japanese on November 11, 2023. Translation by Mana Shibata.)

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