The Greens have commented on the new safe exposure levels of toxic firefighting chemicals, released yesterday afternoon. The Greens have previously criticised the interim safe levels, established at an invitation only workshop last year, for being inexplicably high and not in line with international standards.
Greens NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon, who initiated the Senate inquiry into PFOS/PFOA contamination, said this morning: “This is partly a vindication for the Greens and certainly for many communities who have said for a long time that the interim levels were just not good enough.
“But the new levels are still inexplicable - while the new tolerable daily intake and drinking water guidelines for PFOS match those used by the US EPA, the new PFOA levels are eight times higher. The Greens are calling for the new PFOA level to be reassessed.
“There are over a dozen communities around the country who will be reading this news with a sinking feeling. The Turnbull government needs to go and consult with each and every one of those communities right now.
“Many communities who have been told that they were at safe levels are actually not - like Katherine in the Northern Territory.
“The Greens have been calling for a proper coordinated national strategy for managing this crisis for a long time. The government's approach to the crisis has been grievously passive and totally negligent.
“The summit to develop a national PFAS management plan kicks off today, but it is invite only and the invite list has been kept secret.
“Hopefully that is not going to set the tone for the rest of this process - it needs to be open and there needs to be consultation, not just with industry but with affected communities, current and former workers, unions and a number of stakeholders,” said Senator Rhiannon.