All military personnel, staff and base workers who may have been exposed to toxic firefighting foams should be provided with blood tests, Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon said today.
“The Defence Department should offer free blood tests to all military personnel and base workers associated with HMAS Albatross, along HMAS Creswell and the Jervis Bay Range Facility,” Senator Rhiannon said.
“These tests need to be provided now and not delayed until the environmental testing at Jervis Bay is completed in mid-2018.
“The Defence Department have admitted they are totally responsible for the contamination at their bases that is now polluting surrounding water sources and land.
“The health implications of this contamination need to be a top priority of the state and federal government as the PFOA and PFOS chemicals are associated with a range of diseases including high cholesterol, pregnancy-induced hypertension, thyroid disease and a range of cancers including testicular cancer and kidney cancer.
“It is not good enough for the Defence Department to say the contamination is at low levels. These chemicals bio accumulate. This means that as the chemicals do not break down they build up in living organisms and that can be the cause of serious health problems.
“In 2004, DuPont, one of the main manufacturers of these chemicals was required to settle a class-action covering 80,000 people affected by PFOA contamination in their drinking water. It was revealed that that the company had known about the contamination since 1984.
“Surely in years to come the Defence Department don’t want to be in the same situation,” Senator Rhiannon said.
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