Communities invited to share experiences with PFAS chemicals

Thursday, January 18, 2018 — An independent study into the impact of firefighting chemicals, known as PFAS, is calling for people to share their experiences and views about living in affected communities.

The study by The Australian National University (ANU) wants to hear from people in the Newcastle-Williamtown communities, and in the Oakey-Toowomba communities, to discuss their views on the health risks of PFAS chemicals.

Lead researcher Dr Cathy Banwell, from the ANU Research School of Population Health, said it was important for the investigation to hear from people who are living and working in the investigation areas, to make sure their views contribute to future research and policies.

“This is a great opportunity to come along and have a say about what it is like to be living in a PFAS investigation area,” Dr Banwell said.

“We will be holding a series of focus-group discussions and we’re keen to hear from people with a range of views and experiences.

“People who participate will have their privacy protected.

“However, people who take part in the focus groups will be playing an important part in helping our study understand areas that might need further investigation, and how these chemicals have impacted on the health and wellbeing of the local community.”

The independent three-year study has been commissioned by the Commonwealth Health Department and will examine the health impacts of PFAS chemicals, which were widely used in firefighting foam and which have led to contamination in some communities.

The focus group discussions will take between one and two hours and will be held in the Oakey-Toowomba communities in the last week of January, and around Newcastle and Williamtown in the first week of February.

People interested in taking part can email the health study at, or find more information at the study website at


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