The Australian Government has commenced a national program to investigate the presence of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) on, and in the vicinity of, some of its Defence bases around Australia. Professor Brendan Murphy, Chief Medical Officer, has announced that the timeframe for blood testing under the Voluntary Blood Testing Program in Williamtown, NSW and Oakey, Qld, has been extended until 30 April 2019.
The extension allows for the Voluntary Blood Testing Program to better align with the blood serum study component of the Epidemiological Study and for eligible individuals in the expanded RAAF Base Williamtown Investigation Area to consider getting a free blood test.
People living in communities surrounding PFAS investigation sites are likely to be concerned about what it might mean for their health and as such may present to their GP with those concerns.
As a GP you may be in a position to provide Australian Government funded services to people who may have previously lived or worked in the RAAF Base Williamtown, NSW, Army Aviation Centre Oakey, Qld and RAAF Base Tindal (Katherine) Investigation Areas.
It is possible that a patient in your region may have previously lived or worked in the Williamtown, Oakey or Katherine. If so, they may be eligible for a number of Australian Government funded services including:
- an Epidemiological Study that will help us better understand the human health implications of exposure to PFAS;
- a Voluntary Blood Testing Program for individuals that live or work, or have lived or worked in the RAAF Base Williamtown, Army Aviation Centre Oakey and RAAF Base Tindal Investigation Areas; and
- dedicated mental health and counselling services to assist the Williamtown, Oakey and Katherine communities affected by PFAS contamination, including an online telephone counselling service.
To learn more about these services, or about PFAS in general please visit health.gov.au/pfas.