(per- and poly- fluoroalkyl substances)

In recent times, it has been revealed that contamination from the use of certain firefighting substances within airports has led to contamination investigation zones being established around a number of airports within Australia and other areas of potential investigation being identified.

What is PFAS and where is it?

  • PFAS (per- and poly- fluoroalkyl substances) are a group of manufactured chemicals that have been widely used, globally, since the 1950s to make household and industrial products that resist heat, stains, grease and water. Because they are heat resistant and film-forming in water, some have also been used as very effective ingredients in fire-fighting foams.
  • Due to these chemicals being used for decades, PFAS are found widely throughout the world. Even polar bears in the Antarctica have been found to have PFAS in them. The main exposure pathways are eating food and drinking water contaminated with PFAS.
  • PFAS are known to be contaminants on Commonwealth, state/territory, local government and privately owned sites throughout Australia. The Australian Government is actively investigating contamination across its own estate including Williamtown, NSW; Oakey, Qld; and Katherine, NT.
  • However, recent developments such as the parliamentary inquiry into Fiskville, Victoria; investigations at Deniliquin, NSW; and Qantas’ firefighting foam spill at Brisbane Airport, demonstrate that the PFAS contamination issue extends to state jurisdictions and private enterprises as well.

Source: Australian Government response to PFAS contamination in Australia

The API and other organisations have released information which may help API Members make informed decisions about valuations and property matters in communities affected by, or potentially affected by, per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination.