PFAS and the health opinion

Issue date: Monday, 24 February 2020

House of Representatives media release header

The PFAS Sub-committee of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade (JSCFADT) will today ask the Department of Health about PFAS and its potential impacts on human health.

Chair of the PFAS Sub-committee the Hon Dr John McVeigh MP noted that the 2018 report of the JSCFADT had called on the Department to issue an updated health opinion, as research overseas progressed.

‘We learned last Parliament that communities affected by PFAS had concerns about the Expert Health Panel’s opinion that there was ‘no evidence’ of human health impacts from PFAS,’ Dr McVeigh said.

In the current review, the Australian National University’s PFAS Health Study reported progress in its research to clarify this health advice. The research is funded by the Department of Health with the results to be finalised at the end of this year.

At today’s hearing, the Office of Health Protection’s Principal Medical Adviser Dr Gary Lum will brief the Sub-committee about the Department’s current thinking on PFAS and its health opinion, as the regulatory framework for PFAS evolves.

‘We will want to know how the Department of Health is capturing knowledge on PFAS impacts,’ Dr McVeigh said.

‘That includes by supporting research and whether this work is informing its engagement with the Department of Defence and people in affected communities.’

The PFAS Sub-committee’s program of review will continue over the course of the Parliament with a further report to be presented later this year.

Public hearing details:

Date: Monday 24 February 2020
Time: ~4:10pm to 5:00pm
Location: Committee Room IR4, Parliament House, Canberra.

The hearing will be audio streamed live at

Media inquiries

Dr John McVeigh MP
Chair of the PFAS Sub-committee
(02) 6277 4277

For background information

For further details about the scrutiny process and the Committee’s public hearing program contact:
Committee Secretary
Sub-committee Secretariat
02 6277 2313

House of Representatives media release header