Standing up for Canberra

Labor calls for air sampling following Williamtown blood test results

Labor is calling for detailed airborne testing of the zone surrounding RAAF Base Williamtown following reports a resident may have been exposed to legacy firefighting foam contaminants through breathing outdoor dust.

The ingestion of dust is a low-level source of PFAS exposure recognised by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee, the NSW Department of Health, the Western Australia Department of Health and the US National Centre for Environmental Health.

The Williamtown Human Health Risk Assessment recognised the “potential” for inhalation of surface soil derived dust within the investigation area but the risk was deemed to be low and tolerable under the numerous pathway scenarios modelled.

The results of blood tests from Williamtown residents suggest the need for further certainty around this conclusion.

Residents need assurance that the safety guidelines advised by Defence remain the most up-to-date and effective means to limit exposure to PFAS.

The fact that residents are now sceptical of the received health precautions shows how dismal the Turnbull Government’s handling of this emerging national issue has been.

Residents have no faith in the Turnbull Government’s capacity to manage the issue because the Turnbull Government’s three Defence Ministers can barely manage a word on the issue between them.