NT residents exposed to toxic chemicals to undergo blood tests

NT senator Nigel Scullion says the full study as well as an ecological risk assessment will be completed early next year. Source: AAP

The federal government has offered blood tests to Katherine residents affected by toxic firefighting foam at a Northern Territory military base.

The federal government has offered blood tests to Northern Territory residents exposed to toxic chemicals from old fire fighting foams from a defence base near Katherine.

The coalition on Sunday announced a $5.7 million community support package for people who live near the Top End's RAAF Base Tindal.

From early 2018, additional counselling services and an epidemiological study into potential contamination causes and health effects will also be funded.

Delivered by the health department, the package will be similar to what has been provided to communities near RAAF bases at Williamtown in NSW and the Oakey Army Aviation Centre in Queensland.

It comes months after the blood tests were first requested, and was informed by the results of an interim human health risk assessment.

NT senator Nigel Scullion says the full study as well as an ecological risk assessment will be completed early next year.

"The federal and NT governments already took swift action prior to today to ensure the Katherine town water supply was safe to drink, effectively extinguishing all pathways to PFAS exposure," he said.

"Unfortunately, some have used the PFAS issue to play politics and to whip up unfounded fear and hysteria in the community."

Per- and Poly-fluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) chemicals were used on RAAF Base Tindal between 1988 and 2011.

The commonwealth says there's no consistent evidence that exposure to the foam, which leached into ground and surface water, causes adverse human health effects.

However it recognises the uncertainty around exposure is "causing stress and anxiety in affected communities and is committed to addressing communities' concerns".

Source AAP - SBS

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