Expert slams PFAS warning at city's rivers as 'inadequate'

FISH caught in Ipswich waterways will be put under the microscope as the investigation into contamination around the RAAF Amberley Base continues, amid criticism residents are not being adequately warned about potential exposure.

Last week it was revealed fish caught in the Bremer River and Warrill Creek were found to contain high levels of chemicals, known as PFAS, used in fire fighting foam.

Residents were advised not to eat the fish.

Now, the Defence Department has confirmed it will carry out further testing on more "popular" fish species caught in the catchments, as part of an environmental investigation.

Residents in the impacted area should also expect to receive an information flyer in their letter box, Defence says.

But an environmental expert has called on the authorities to place signs along the waterways, warning people of the potential health risks saying a short-term letter box drop is "inadequate".

Dr Bill Freeland, former head of the Northern Territory's environmental agency and Ipswich resident, said clear signage advising against eating anything caught in the river should be erected.

He also believes residents should be warned against swimming in, or drinking, the water.

"There is no excuse for there not appearing to be any signage on those waterways, indicating the recorded presence of high levels of PFAS" Dr Freeland said, acknowledging that little data was available.

"While Defence has not provided data on contamination in fish and other aquatic life, there should be signage including a warning that consumption of fish and other aquatic life - for example - yabbies and mussels - from these waterways is inadvisable."

In April, investigators examining the potential impact of contamination from the use of PFAS chemicals at RAAF Amberley Base took samples of mullet, catfish and eel, caught in the Bremer River and Warrill Creek.

Preliminary test results found high levels of PFAS chemicals and the results were passed onto Queensland Health, which then issued a public health warning.

A Defence spokesperson told the QT further testing and analysis would be carried out during "the Human Health Risk Assessment (HHRA) being undertaken as part of the environmental investigation."

"This testing will include tests of other species of more popular edible fish in the area," the spokesperson said.

"Defence is committed to regularly updating the community throughout the investigation and will be letter box dropping all residents in the Investigation Area detailing this precautionary advice and updating the community on further sampling to be conducted in the process of finalising the HHRA.

"This is precautionary advice, based on preliminary test results, and we will keep the community and recreational fishers updated as the investigation progresses."

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