Field & Game Australia

Update on PFAS contamination

Field & Game Australia has a reputation for taking an evidence based approach to issues, whether it is season setting, habit management or environmental issues.

We are currently gathering facts and data as we work through our response and future actions in relation to the Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) advice that recreational fishers and duck hunters do not consume any animals harvested at the wetlands until further assessment can be undertaken by the Department of Defence (DoD).

DoD is investigating contamination in relation to 18 bases around Australia and at tonight (8.30pm), ABC current affairs flagship 4Corners will air an investigation into PFAS (per-and poly-fluoroalkyl substances) use in Australia.

The advice for the Sale wetlands was released without notice last week and as a result FGA and its partners in the redevelopment of the Heart Morass now have to deal with an emerging and complex issue. FGA and our community partners have invested significant financial and human capital over the past decade to achieve an outstanding environmental outcome at Heat Morass.

The current advice is confronting and challenging. We are seeking expert advice on the testing and will seek to engage with DoD, the EPA and other relevant parties on both short and long term strategies. FGA will inform members of any new developments or revised advice as we work through this issue.

Preliminary Department of Defence (Commonwealth) testing for PFAS (per-and poly-fluoroalkyl substances) indicated elevated levels in fish, eels and ducks from the Heart Morass Wetlands located adjacent to the RAAF base at Sale..

People who have eaten fish, eels or ducks are not considered to be at risk of any adverse health effects, but the EPA recommends action to reduce and prevent exposure to PFAS by not consuming frozen ducks, eels or fish taken from the affected wetlands.

The EPA is waiting for the Department of Defence’s formal assessment of testing results before further advice can be issued probably in late December.

For further background information visit: http://www.epa.vic.gov.au/our-work/publications/publication/2017/september/1672

Information regarding the health effects of PFAS and guidelines for PFAS can be found here: http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/ohp-pfas.htm

Information about the Department of Defence’s national program to manage the impacts of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) on, and in the vicinity of, some of its bases around Australia can be found, here: http://www.defence.gov.au/Environment/PFAS/

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