PFAS Water Contamination Sydney and Wreck Bay Community
A wake up call to Australia and the World
I am writing today to highlight the latest serious threat to our water sources.
PFAS found in Fire Fighting Foam
While I wrote this article to highlight the ongoing issues of PFAS in natural water sources in Australia it applies just as much to a many other places around the world when the same chemicals have been used and are leaching in to water sources.
Click on the image below in Bloomberg Law about the state of play in the USA as of Feb 27th 2020.
PFAS is "Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances are a family of widely used manmade chemicals that have spread through waterways and the environment and raised alarm among regulators and the public. Some types of PFAS have been linked to cancer and other serious health problems." Ellen M. Gilmer Feb. 27, 2020
"The PFAS are a group of over 4,700 industrial chemicals, they all share a similar molecular structure, a ‘carbon chain’, and the element, ‘fluorine’. They are composed of carbon and fluorine molecules and it is this carbon-fluorine bond is incredibly strong, which makes PFAS extremely difficult to break down."
According to the US National Library of Medicine in a 2018 article "Short-chain PFASs (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are widely used as alternatives to long-chain PFASs. Long-chain PFASs become gradually regulated under REACH (EC No. 1907/2006) and other international regulations, due to having persistent, bioaccumulate and toxic properties and/or being toxic for reproduction.
The increasingly used short-chain PFASs are assumed to have a lower bioaccumulation potential. Nonetheless, they have other properties of concern and are already widely distributed in the environment, also in remote regions. The REACH Regulation does not directly address these emerging properties of concern, complicating the implementation of regulatory measures." (read the full article here https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5834591/)
It is the bioaccumulate effect that is in my opinion the most concerning and as it seems that PFAS in some form is going to continue to be used and in our environment in many applications from non-stick pans to clothing water proof layers etc. we must be aware of how to reduce our intake of theses chemicals and hence reduce the potentially negative effects of the bioaccumulation.
It is essential that we pressure governments to continue to modify regulations to to 0monitor the "safe use" of these 'forever' chemicals. At the same time we need to ensure these chemicals don't make it into our drinking water as it might be years down the line before we discover the true health effects of these chemicals has it was with the long-chain PFAS variants.
In Australia PFAS it has been used and in many areas in fire fighting foam! This is something I had hear about in the US it these cases I have included here made it seem more real due to its proximity to my own life in Sydney. In Williamstown's Port Stephens locals claim to have have become very ill from this PFAS present in their drinking water and the ground water contamination transferring into the things they grew and ate.
The issue is that their water table is shared with the near by Airforce base where the PFAS rick fire fighting foam has been used in training exercises. This polyfluoroalkyl substance breaks down very slowly and while it does it gets washed into neighboring areas where it contaminates the water supplies of coastal communities as well as the sea life in creeks and rivers.
Now not surprisingly we are hearing a lot more about this widely used toxic foam and the effects it is having poising the environment and the people that live in these areas. Check the map above to see areas under current investigation.
One area heavily effect is the the Wreck Bay Community.
This indigenous community profoundly effected by the stolen generation and now it seem they have been positioned by the government doing training exercises in the near by bases or years..
This is a disgrace and particularly as they knew it was a toxic problem long before they came out and warned people. It effects the Community in Wreck Bay dramatically as it is say to have contaminated their water source, and their traditional fishing grounds in the marine reserve. Please click the images for more information.
Where is next? Look above at the map and see areas under investigation, and these are areas we know at this moment. If you are reading this article from overseas search for both identified contaminated sites and also potential sites around your town, particularly up stream.
This in not an isolated incident it is far spread and effecting loads of home and people in Australia as well as potentially whole industries like fish farming, Oyster Leases and Prawn Stocks. All these industries are heavily defendant on he water quality of the local river systems.
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