In her visit to Australia this week, American activist Erin Brockovich has called on the government to act to prevent the spread of PFAS chemical contamination.
ABC News reported that there were more than 60 locations in one state alone that were believed to be contaminated.
PFAS chemicals are found in many manufactured products and are utilised for their resistance to heat water and oil, meaning they’re a common ingredient in firefighting foam.
Overseas authorities like the US Environmental Protection Agency, have linked PFOA and PFOS chemicals, which are a subsection of PFAS, to liver and kidney effects, as well as reproductive and developmental issues.
The Australian National University is currently investigating the health impacts locally of people who have been exposed to high levels of the chemicals.
Ms Brockovich explained that she was in Australia, “having dealt with this in every state in America.”
“The sites that you’re looking at here in Queensland — these didn’t just happen this morning, this has been going on for a very long period of time.
“You really need to wake up to these issues in this country — here in Australia you are bigger and better than this.”
According to the ABC, the list of locations includes eight current or former defence sites, 26 fire stations, six airports, four ports, three town water supplies and several waste facilities.
A spokesman for the Department of Environment and Science (DES) said that the potential PFAS-affected sites are monitored by a number of government agencies.