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Australia – Airport In Toxic Foam Trouble: Tests Reveal Threat To Water Course

Aus Airport FireFighters Stock PictureAustralia – Airport In Toxic Foam Trouble: Tests Reveal Threat To Water Course

Australian PRIME Minister Malcolm Turnbull has responded to water testing around Oakey and the Brisbane airport which have found levels of toxic PFOS and PFOA at up to 425 times the maximum exposure limits.

Mr Turnbull said the government was committed to delivering results to communities contaminated by toxic fire fighting foam as soon as possible.

“We’re moving on this rapidly but deliberately,” Mr Turnbull said, on 2GB radio this morning.
“It is obviously a legacy issue that goes back many years and what we’ve got to do is establish precisely what the incidence of these chemicals are in the environment and of course what the impact of it is.”

When asked what the government was doing to give distressed residents peace of mind, Mr Turnbull pointed to his $55 million assistance package, announced last week.

He said the government would facilitate voluntary blood testing and counselling services in all affected communities.

“These are all funded by the government and hopefully this will address the immediate concerns while we continue to detailed environmental and health investigations,” Mr Turnbull said.

When asked about local Oakey father Brad Hudson, who was diagnosed with testicular cancer as his property’s bore water recorded highly elevated levels of the toxins, Mr Turnbull was reluctant to comment.

“That is going to have to be the subject of a health investigation,” he said.
Mr Turnbull also reiterated a commitment to consider land acquisition for properties contaminated by Defence toxins, but only once the department’s investigations were complete.

“The people can absolutely rest assured that we are alert to the issue, investigating it, providing the blood tests and counselling but the most important thing is to ascertain the scale and scope of the problem and what the consequences are,” Mr Turnbull said.

Investigations are expected to be completed in the coming months.

OVERNIGHT REPORT: TOXIC chemicals have been detected in waterways surrounding Brisbane Airport at more than 60 times the maximum exposure limits, new tests have revealed.

Water samples collected by The Courier-Mail and ­analysed by an independent laboratory have found tributaries that flow directly into the Brisbane River and Moreton Bay have been ­polluted by record levels of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).

Exposure to the chemicals have been linked to cancers, pregnancy disorders and thyroid and liver damage.

Exposure to the chemicals, found in firefighting foam and used at the Brisbane Airport fire station and fire training area until 2010, have been linked to cancers, pregnancy disorders and thyroid and liver damage.

The results, from Australian Laboratory Services, come after The Courier-Mail revealed the airport sites – managed by federal-owned Airservices Australia (ASA) – tested positive for PFOS and PFOA.

The shocking discovery confirms fears that the region’s most valuable waterways are under threat from the uncontrolled spread of the water soluble toxins.

An ASA spokeswoman claimed the findings were “misleading and factually ­incorrect” because the sample location was not used as “a drinking source”.

But National Toxics ­Network chemical expert Mariann Lloyd-Smith said exposure to PFOS and PFOA in any water source was dangerous.

“These chemicals may be diluted in water but they never break down and can accumulate in marine and aquatic life, so they have no natural pathway to disappear,” Dr Lloyd-Smith said.

Moreton Bay is the state’s most valuable recreational and commercial fishery, worth about $25 million a year to the southeast Queensland economy.

More than 475,000 people use the bay for recre­ational fishing each year. It is also home to 64 species of coral, dugongs and turtles.

Environment Minister Steven Miles was deeply concerned by the results and called on the Federal Government to develop a response to contamination “on land they are responsible for”.

Australian Airports Association acting chief exec­utive Nick Lane said the role of the Federal Government to address the issues at Brisbane Airport “cannot be understated”.

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