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PFAS Contamination

The COOE marine science team have been working with several clients to evaluate their potential impact on the marine environment from their use of products containing PFAS.  We are pleased to say that we have developed a very rigorous sampling methodology to test for PFAS in the Aquatic (Marine) Environment.

Perfluoroalkyl and poly-fluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS), have been used extensively in industrial and commercial products including textiles, food packaging, inks, paints, sealants, floor waxes, cleaning products, pesticides and fire-fighting foams since the 1960s.

Some PFAS have been identified as emerging contaminants of concern due to their toxicity, highly persistent nature, mobility in the environment and significant potential for bioaccumulation and biomagnification. Numerous studies have been initiated around Australia to explore the health and environmental implications by the Australian Department of Defence, and the overarching Department of Health (PFAS Reference).

With the growing awareness of the potential ecological and human health effects associated with industrial and urban chemicals entering the environment, attention has begun to focus over the last ten years on the potential ecological and health effects of PFAS entering aquatic environments.

Consistent with numerous shipping ports, airports and defence facilities throughout Australia, PFAS have been used extensively as firefighting foams. Regular firefighting drills at port facilities have resulted in PFAS entering the stormwater system, groundwater and potentially into the adjacent marine environment.

COOE has undertaken studies for an undisclosed client to:

  • determine whether PFAS can be detected in adjacent marine waters, and if so, their concentration;
  • determine whether PFAS can be detected within common marine species near the facilities , including fish, molluscs and cephalopods, and if so, their concentrations; and
  • determine whether PFAS concentrations in marine biota (fish and crustaceans), exceed health standards, i.e. determine if they are safe to eat under Australian Guidelines.

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