The final report into the potential health effects of exposure to PFAS will be delayed until mid next year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The much-anticipated report was due to be released in December.
The government said this week that the Australian National University research team had been unable to travel and/or had been reassigned during the pandemic.
"The Australian Government understands many people, particularly in the investigation areas of Oakey, Williamtown and Katherine, are concerned about the potential health effects of PFAS," the statement said.
Evidence about the health impacts of PFAS exposure was due to be heard in the class action trial for communities who had suffered property loss as a result of PFAS contamination.
The court also accepted expert reports that argued PFAS exposure was linked to cancers
It is believed that the admission of the evidence may have influenced the government's decision to settle the three class actions in February for $212.5 million.
Professor Martyn Kirk from ANU's National Epidemical and Population Health Centre told last November's hearing of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade that the impact of PFAS on mental health was comparable to individuals exposed to asbestos.
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"I think the community concerns have been really quite immense....It's hard for us [the investigation team] as well, but we know that communities are suffering so that's been really difficult. The thing that I think has surprised us the most is the depth of feeling and the sense of anxiety," he said.
The ANU research team has also conducted a literature review about the potential health impacts.
"We ended up finding that the majority of studies didn't have sufficient information in them to really be able to conclude that there was evidence for a health effect. But there were several where we did find evidence of a health effect," Professor Kirk said.
"There was sufficient evidence of a positive association between [PFAS] and elevated cholesterol.
"And then there was a range of different health outcomes where there was more limited evidence-there might have been fewer studies but they still found an association."
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