A body representing Australian doctors wants the federal government to improve health advice on PFAS firefighting chemicals and a nation-wide ban.
A peak doctors organisation has questioned why Australia's health advice about potentially toxic PFAS chemicals differs from that of the United States and Europe and repeated calls for a nationwide ban.
The Royal Australasian College of Physicians is concerned the Australian government hasn't followed the World Health Organisation and governments in the US, UK and Germany in acknowledging that exposure to PFAS chemicals could be dangerous to human health.
"(We are) concerned the health advice 'that there is currently no consistent evidence of health effects' could be interpreted to mean there is no unsafe dose and no health effects even for exposures above the interim values," RACP states in a parliamentary submission.
Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) is a group of chemicals used in firefighting foam that remain in the environment for years and can be passed through breast milk.
"Given the long half-life of these chemicals in humans, it can reasonably be anticipated that continued exposure could increase body burdens to levels that would result in adverse outcomes," the US Environmental Protection Agency said in 2009.
RACP suggested the federal government fall into line with WHO health advice standards by being more cautious about the use and exposure to the chemicals.
But it notes the current body of scientific evidence is based on "generally low-quality studies - another factor contributing to uncertainty about human health effects".
The doctors also reiterated calls for the federal government to ban the chemicals to avoid inconsistencies across the states and territories.
South Australia and Queensland prohibit the chemicals while the NSW government has avoided doing so, arguing a ban is the federal government's responsibility.
A federal joint-parliamentary committee is examining the management of PFAS contamination in and around Defence bases.
Firefighting foams containing PFAS were used during training and emergency responses across the nation until the mid-2000s.
Traces of the toxic chemicals have been found near RAAF bases including Williamtown and Richmond in NSW.