THE federal government has issued new health advice for toxic firefighting chemicals, urging Williamtown residents to 'avoid exposure'.
An updated guidance statement from the Environmental Health Standing Committee (EnHealth) was issued this month for per- and poly-fluoralkyl [PFAS] chemicals.
Coalition Against PFAS president Lindsay Clout, of Fullerton Cove, said the advice echoed residents' beliefs that they should not be living in the area.
"The advice is that people need to be removed from the source of the contamination," he said. "We have been saying that from the beginning and we have gotten nowhere."
According to EnHealth, it's latest statements "reinforce the advice to avoid exposure to PFAS".
"Although there is still uncertainty around the potential for PFAS exposure to cause significant adverse human health effects, we do know that some long chain PFAS, such as PFOS and PFOA, can persist for a long time both in the environment and in humans," it reads.
"Therefore, it is prudent to reduce exposure to PFAS as far as is practicable. Action should be taken to address the source of the exposure and interrupt known human exposure pathways."
Exposure pathways include eating food or drinking water contaminated with PFAS, inhalation of contaminated dust and skin contact.
The Morrison government has denied a link between PFAS exposure and health effects, as it fends off criticism that EnHealth's advice contradicts warnings from world-leading agencies, including the US EPA.
The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) has previously slammed federal health advice, arguing the government's position is "highly problematic", "confusing" and doesn't provide a complete picture of the international evidence.
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EnHealth's updated advice comes at the same time as free blood testing for Williamtown residents ends.
Speaking in Parliament on Monday, Paterson MP Meryl Swanson said she was "dumbfounded" to learn that blood testing had ended.
"PFAS contamination has haunted my community for the last four years," she said.
"Minister after minister, the Prime Minister's office and ministers' offices - they've kicked the ball around for far too long... We need a policy for it, and you have done absolutely nothing."
Mr Clout said residents wanted access to free blood testing to monitor attempts to avoid PFAS.
"People have been taking a host of precautionary measures," he said.
"This is all underpinned by knowing what your blood test results are. This is not a diagnosis issue, the issue is knowing your history."
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