DFES is committed to the health and safety of staff and volunteers and is offering voluntary blood testing for Poly-fluoroalky Substances (PFAS), including Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS) for concerned staff and volunteers who would like to be involved with this program. The program also includes access to an Occupational Physician if requested. The testing program is available to all current and past staff and volunteers (including bush fire brigades) who may have used or been in contact with Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) (B-class foam) and I encourage all to participate. The program will be available until 30 September 2019, however this may be extended.
All Australians are expected to have detectable levels of PFAS in their blood due to exposure from other sources including water repellent coatings on clothing and carpet care products. By adopting the precautionary principle approach, DFES is dedicated to implementing this program. This will further research into PFAS to improve the health and wellbeing of DFES staff and volunteers and the emergency services industry.
The program will be coordinated through Sonic Health. Personnel participating will be required to read an information sheet, complete a confidential health questionnaire sent directly to Sonic Health, and sign a privacy and consent form after which they will receive a letter and form to take to their nearest Sonic Health or affiliated pathology centre. DFES will receive a list of names to verify that those requesting a test are a past or present employee or volunteer. Results will be sent to the individual and their GP if nominated. DFES will receive de-identified information (not individual results). DFES may choose to participate in future research with the consent of individuals involved in the program.
It is recommended that current or past DFES employees and volunteers who have concerns about their potential exposure to PFAS refer to the Helpful references page.
Questions regarding access to the program can be directed to Director Health and Safety Services, A/Director, Matt Watson via email Matthew.Watson@dfes.wa.gov.au or phone 9395 9928.