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Mainstream media further reports on toxic PFAS

Yesterday, information regarding the effects of toxic PFAS chemical exposure on people’s health, was reported once again in the media.

This time, information was released where Airservices Australia tested 150 firefighters for exposure to PFAS. Aviation firefighters have been found to have up to 20 times the normal level of the chemicals in their blood with the abnormal results being found in Sydney, Perth, Rockhampton and the Gold Coast. The contamination has occurred mainly around airbases, due to PFAS being used in firefighting foam, to put out jet and chemical-fuelled fires.

There have been Parliamentary Inquiry hearings and multiple reports on people’s health being affected by exposure to these chemicals, however the Australian Government still remains in denial.

Airservices Australia used PFAS until 2010 but documents obtained by the media, have said that there have been no health issues directly attributed to high levels of the chemicals, however I beg to differ. I have grave concerns when Associate Professor Robert Niven from the University of NSW — an environmental engineer who has spent nearly 30 years studying contamination — told the ABC the PFAS chemicals were the “world’s next asbestos disaster;” imagine how many lives could have been saved if asbestos was brought to people’s attention sooner.

In the United States, industrial group 3M Co has just settled a $1.15 billion lawsuit with Minnesota, following groundwater contamination which a U.S. study found to have caused higher rates of cancer, premature births and lower fertility. If the United States courts are bringing to light that PFAS is environmentally toxic, why is our government not paying attention?

Since elected, I have been calling for our government to offer compensation and buy-back properties that have been contaminated, and I will continue that fight. People’s health must considered with the utmost of importance and no less.

Image: ABC