Media Release: PFOA spill

The spill of a toxic chemical by Qantas during the Easter holiday is an environmental disaster. The fact that the public were not notified during this holiday season for four days and families have been playing in the water, fishing and eating the fish and other crustaceans from the impacted area borders on negligent.

“The impacted area is near the airport, from the lower reaches of the Brisbane River – from Bulimba Creek to Fisherman Island – and north to Shorncliffe. This is outside commercial fishing areas. Chief Health Officer Jeanette Young indicated that people should avoid recreational fishing in the area. “I recommend people avoid eating seafood that was caught in the potentially contaminated area until the results of Environment Department testing are known”.

The chemicals that have spilled into the waterways are banned in Qld. They could only be used at the airport because that is considered Commonwealth land.

PFOA and PFAS are “chemical substances that persist in the environment, bio-accumulate through the food web, and pose a risk of causing adverse effects to human health and the environment”.

Because the chemicals bio accumulate they are likely to cause long term pollution in the impacted areas.
People on Easter holidays should not swim at Nudgee Beach in PFAS (PFOA) contaminated water – a recommendation in the Qld Fact sheet – see link below, because they may swallow the water nor should they eat the fish caught in the impacted areas.

This information should be posted at Nudgee Beach and other places frequented by holiday makers. Unfortunately information released on Good Friday, will not always be read before exposure.

Dupont has had to pay out millions of dollars due to environmental contamination with PFOA and related chemicals. Qantas and the Government should have been more proactive in getting the message out to limit the risk both to humans and the environment.



Dr Andrew Jeremijenko, Member of Doctors for the Environment Australia
Ph 0438372653


From Qld Fact Sheet: Per- and poly- fluoroalkyl substances (PFASs)

” How can people reduce the risk of exposure to PFASs?

In areas where contamination of water (for example in underground, springs, water bores, dams, ponds or creeks) has been identified, human exposure can be minimised by:

  • not drinking the water or using it to prepare food
  • not consuming food products (for example, eggs, milk, meat, fish, fruit or vegetables) grown or produced using, or in, contaminated water
  • avoiding or minimising the use of the water for showering/bathing, sprinklers or to fill swimming pools or paddling pools due to the possibility of unintentionally drinking the water. “

Here is a link to the Qld PFAS fact sheet



” What are the main sources of exposure to PFAS?

For the general population, ingestion of PFAS is considered the major human exposure pathway. The major types of human exposure sources for PFAS include:
– Drinking contaminated water.
– Ingesting food contaminated with PFAS, such as certain types of fish and shellfish.
– Until recently, eating food packaged in materials containing PFAS (e.g., popcorn bags, fast food containers, and pizza boxes). Using PFAS compounds has been largely phased out of food packaging materials.
– Hand-to-mouth transfer from surfaces treated with PFAS-containing stain protectants, such as carpets, which is thought to be most significant for infants and toddlers.
– Workers in industries or activities that manufacture, manipulate or use products containing PFAS may be exposed to higher levels than the general population.

What are other low level exposure sources?

Individuals can also be exposed by breathing air that contains dust contaminated with PFAS (from soil, carpets, upholstery, clothing, etc.), or from certain fabric sprays containing this substance.

Dermal exposure is a minor exposure pathway. Dermal absorption is slow and does not result in significant absorption. ”

Here is a link to the ATSDR CDC fact sheet


Dermal absorption does occur but it is not the main route


DuPont, Chemours to pay $670 million over PFOA suits…pfoa…/97842870/
Feb 13, 2017 – The $670.7 million settlement DuPont and Chemours will pay plaintiffs to settle 3,550 lawsuits related to the release of PFOA, a toxic chemical, …
Last visit: 15/04/17

DuPont settles lawsuits over leak of chemical used to make Teflon
Feb 13, 2017 – DuPont settles lawsuits over leak of chemical used to make Teflon … is also known as PFOA or C-8, from its plant in Parkersburg, West Virginia.

DuPont lawsuits (re PFOA pollution in USA) | Business & Human …
A local family sued DuPont in 1998 over loss of cattle allegedly due to the pollution from the nearby PFOA sludge laden landfill. This lawsuit was settled in 2001 …

DuPont Settles PFOA Class-Action Lawsuit In West Virginia, Ohio …
Feb 13, 2017 – DuPont manufactured the chemical PFOA at its plant in West Virginia, and on Monday the company announced that it settled 3,550 lawsuits ..


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