2016/04—Perfluorinated Chemicals—Public Meeting Thursday 19 May 2016

12 May 2016

2016/04—Perfluorinated Chemicals—Public Meeting Thursday 19 May 2016
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The Department of Defence has initiated a program to investigate the extent and levels of the chemicals, PFOS and PFOA on, and in the vicinity of, some of its bases around Australia.

Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) were active ingredients in aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) used extensively worldwide, and within Australia, from the 1970s by both civilian and military authorities, due to its effectiveness in extinguishing liquid fuel fires.

Most people living in developed nations will have some level of PFOS and PFOA in their body as these chemicals were used in common household and industrial applications, such as in the manufacture of non-stick cookware, fabric, furniture and carpet stain protection applications, food packaging and in some industrial processes.

According to guidance statements issued in March 2016 by an expert committee, the national Environmental Health Standing Committee (enHealth), there is currently no consistent evidence that exposure to PFOS and PFOA causes adverse human health effects. However, because these chemicals can persist in humans and the environment, enHealth recommends that human exposure to these chemicals is minimised as a precaution.

As a result, Defence is conducting preliminary testing to determine the extent, if any, of PFOS and PFOA outside of the Jervis Bay Range Facility.

You are invited to a public meeting to hear more about the testing program:


Thursday 19 May 2016, 5:30pm to 6:30pm


Jervis Bay School Hall

For further information on Defence's national activities, please refer to www.defence.gov.au/id/PFOSPFOA/

Sam Lucas
A/g General Manager
Local Government, Mainland Territories and RDA Branch