On Monday 25 November, the PFAS Sub-committee of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade (JSCFADT) will hold the first public hearing for its inquiry into the Department of Defence’s remediation of per-and poly-fluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) contamination on defence bases.
The Chair of the PFAS Sub-committee the Hon Dr John McVeigh MP said that the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health at the Australian National University (ANU) has been invited to report on work being advanced under its PFAS Health Study.
“The ANU’s PFAS Health Study was commissioned by the Department of Health to examine the potential health effects of PFAS exposure on people who have lived or worked in the areas surrounding RAAF Base Williamtown, the Army Aviation Centre Oakey and the RAAF Base Tindal,” Dr McVeigh said.
Dr McVeigh explained that the epidemiological study utilises blood samples gathered by the Government in a free blood testing program for people who had possible exposure to PFAS at/or near these sites. The PFAS research team will use this source for comparison and analysis and release a sequence of assessments over 2020.
“Phase two of the study, now underway, will establish whether rates of diseases, including cancers, can be associated with higher PFAS exposure among people who have lived in the investigation areas, compared to the general population”, Dr McVeigh said.
“The PFAS Health Study is doing essential work to provide up-to-date results based on local information to affected communities, as international research continues.”
The PFAS Sub-committee’s scrutiny follows on from recommendations made to Government last parliament that the Department of Health should review its advice in relation to the human health effects of PFAS and its potential links to certain medical conditions.
The inquiry report, tabled in December 2018, made nine recommendations to address Government’s management and coordination of PFAS remediation and related concerns.
Public hearing details:
Date: Monday 25 November 2019
Time: Approximately 4:10pm to 5:00pm
Location: Committee Room IR4, Parliament House, Canberra.
This hearing will be audio streamed live at www.aph.gov.au/live.
Dr John McVeigh MP
(02) 6277 4277
For background information
02 6277 2313