Community Stories

Many communities are only now discovering the level of PFAS exposure they’ve been exposed to and the potential risks.

Overview

Most communities have found out about PFAS-related contamination through articles in their local newspapers or letter-box drops from authorities.

This is despite the Department of Defence and local authorities often knowing that PFAS was contaminating their communities for many years prior.

What happens next is that people are told not to drink or have any exposure to water from their properties, as it may be contaminated. Not to grow or eat food such as fruit, vegetables, eggs or livestock from their property. And they’re advised to get a blood test which have typically showed levels of PFAS compounds, in their systems, that is significantly higher than the national / global average.

What they are told is all this advice is “precautionary”. What they know is that their communities have been exposed to contamination that will continue to expand and remain in the environment for 100 years or more. They know that people in their community have reported potentially related illnesses, including high rates of cancer.

You can read and view some of their stories on the link below.

Community Contamination

A case study in contradiction – How our Government is lagging behind.

In May 2016 Federal Government PFAS Taskforce put out a media statement claiming,

“there is no consistent evidence that exposure to PFAS causes adverse human health effects.” 

This is despite the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) in a formal submission telling the Government

“We advocate for a change to the national health advice that incorporates the latest international evidence for adverse human health effects.”

And just days after the Federal Government announcement  the NSW Environmental Protection Agency reiterated its health advice for PFAS-impacted communities including:

Official Advice

  • Do not drink any water from their property.
  • Do not eat any food grown on their property.

If the Federal Government chooses to ignore Australian medical and environmental experts, it’s even harder to understand why they’ve overlooked the rest of the worlds.

If you think not having answers for two-and-a-half weeks is a long time, wait until you've been asking for four-and-a-half years.

Dianne P.Oakey Resident

International Health Advice

United Nation’s Stockholm Convention

  • PFOS and PFOA were included in The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. The Report of the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review committee noted “that PFOS is likely, as a result of its long-range environmental transport, to lead to significant adverse human health and environmental effects, such that global action is warranted.”

United States

  • The United States Environmental Protection Agency’s drinking water advice for PFOA and PFOS states that studies indicate that exposure to PFOA and PFOS over certain levels may result in adverse health effects including developmental effects, cancer, immune effects and thyroid effects.

Germany

  • The Human Biomonitoring Commission in Germany determines guidance values for selected substances according to defined criteria. In 2016, the German Human Biomonitoring Commission concluded that seven health effects were “well proven, relevant, and significantly associated with exposure to PFOA and/or PFOS”

United Kingdom

  • The British health authority states that “repeated exposure by ingestion can cause stomach upset, liver toxicity and effects on thyroid hormones”

Read CAP President Lindsay Clout’s article on how authorities have mis-handled PFOS contamination.

Living In The Red Zone

You can watch some of their stories on the videos below.

Sue’s Experience 3:05

Sue and her partner moved to the Williamtown area to retire and enjoy a rural lifestyle.

Baby Williams Experience 2:51

Jamie and Sam Kelly were forced to abandon their home near Williamtown RAAF base.

John & Chantel Experience 2:10

John and his wife describe the devastation of Defence Department contamination.

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