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About the program

FRNSW has commenced a program to undertake an environmental investigation into the presence of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), on, and in the vicinity of sites where legacy firefighting foams containing PFAS have previously been stored, used and disposed of.

PFAS are a class of manufactured chemicals generally present in aqueous film forming foam (AFFF). AFFF is a firefighting foam that has been used extensively worldwide, and within Australia, from about the 1970s by both civilian and military authorities, due to its effectiveness in extinguishing liquid fuel fires. The PFAS of interest include perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).

As well as firefighting foams, PFAS have been used in the manufacture of common household and industrial goods. These include stain resistant applications for furniture and carpets, fast food or packaged food containers, make up, personal care products and cleaning products.

Due to its widespread use, most people living in developed nations will likely to have some level of PFOS and PFOA in their body. Because these chemicals persist in humans and the environment, enHealth recommends that human exposure to these chemicals is minimised as a precaution. There is currently no consistent evidence that exposure to PFAS causes adverse human health effects.

In 2007, FRNSW phased out its use of legacy AFFF containing PFOS and PFOA as active ingredients. The firefighting foam now used by FRNSW is a more environmentally safe product and does not contain PFAS.

FRNSW is responding proactively to this matter and is working with state and local authorities in the conduct of its investigations.

FRNSW is committed to being open and transparent. We will make the verified test results available to the local community, and will share this information with relevant state and local authorities.

Please refer to the Investigation Sites page for more information relating to the sites FRNSW is investigating.

For further information or enquiries please refer to the contacts page.

Further information on PFAS and the PFAS investigation program being undertaken by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) can be found on the EPA website at www.epa.nsw.gov.au/Mediainformation/pfasinvestigation.htm.

If you would like to talk to the NSW EPA please call the Environment Line on 131 555.