Government Needs to Step Up on PFAS Response

Reports across the weekend confirm what we have always known – the Turnbull Government is unable to provide the necessary leadership to manage a national, coordinated and responsive approach to PFAS contamination.

The United States revised its exposure levels for PFAS/PFOA downwards following findings there could be a risk to unborn babies and infants via transfer of the contaminants in utero or when breastfeeding. The revised exposure levels only apply to women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, not to the general population. 

 

Food Standards Australia and New Zealand provided the Department of Health with its recommendedhealth based guidance values for PFAS for all Australians only last month. 

 

Different values were not provided for pregnant or breastfeeding mothers.

 

Meanwhile, a senior physician from the Department of Defence dismissed the need for blood testsbecause of a lack of evidence linking PFAS exposure with adverse health effects.

 

The Turnbull Government’s lack of responsiveness and national coordination only creates further anxiety and uncertainty for the communities living near the 18 Defence sites affected by the use of PFAS.

 

Will the Turnbull Government direct the Department of Health and FSANZ to review the Australian PFAS exposure levels for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers?

 

Will FSANZ analyse significantly more blood results, across both gender and age range, for there to be greater confidence in the current exposure levels for Australians?

 

Will the Turnbull Government finally adopt Labor’s policy response to PFAS contamination in its entirety, rather than the ad hoc approach underway?

 

Will it commit to expanding the program of voluntary blood testing to all communities living near the 18 Defence sites affected by the use of PFAS to assist in providing a health baseline for future research?

 

Will it commit to dust and particle testing at all 18 Defence sites affected by the use of PFAS?

 

The Turnbull Government needs to stop hoping the PFAS contamination issue will go away.

 

The latest news shows the science on PFAS contamination is rapidly changing and the Turnbull Government needs to step up if it’s going to keep up.

 

SUNDAY, 28 MAY 2017

 

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