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Renewed warning not to eat fish caught in city's waterways

ANY fish caught in Ipswich's waterways should not be eaten, authorities say.

The Department of Environment and Science (DES) continues to investigate contamination of PFAS chemicals in local Ipswich waterways and has established an investigation area.

DES established an investigation area that includes Bundamba and Oaky creeks and surface water bodies and waterways that flow into these creeks.

The sampling program which began in late August has so far involved soil, fish, sediment, surface water and groundwater at multiple locations within the area.

Sampling of a small number of fish from Swanbank Lake and Bundamba Creek downstream of the lake have shown elevated concentrations of PFAS.

DES is working with stakeholders on the issue, including Ipswich City Council.

Signs have been installed in the area advising the public not to consume fish while investigations continue.

Queensland Health advises residents not to consume fish from Swanbank Lake or Bundamba Creek downstream of the Swanbank Power Station site.

Fishing in these waterways is catch-and-release only, except for tilapia fish, which if caught, should be thrown away as it is a restricted noxious fish.

Infrequent consumption, such as less than once per month, of a meal of seafood from the area would not make a significant contribution to an individual's overall exposure to PFAS.

Members of the public concerned about their health should see their local doctor or contact 13HEALTH.

Background

Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have been used since the 1950s in a range of common household products and in some specialty applications.

These include in the manufacture of non-stick cookware; fabric, furniture and carpet stain protection applications; food packaging; some industrial processes; and in some types of fire-fighting foam.

Queensland was the first government in Australia to ban firefighting foam containing perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and is implementing a policy to phase out firefighting foam containing these substances by July 2019.

Fire-fighting foam containing PFAS were used in fire-fighting and fire-fighting training from the 1970s to the mid-2000s and is considered a leading cause of PFAS now found in the wider environment.

The general public is exposed to small amounts of PFAS in everyday life and is not considered to be at risk when PFAS levels are within nationally agreed consumption and recreation guidelines.

Further information on PFAS is available at qld.gov.au/environment/

Topics:  bundamba creek contamination editors picks pfas swanbank lake