Heart health re­port

Field & Game Aus­tralia is still sell­ing keys to the Heart Morass wet­land near Sale but they are is­sued with a warn­ing af­ter the re­lease of an In­terim Hu­man Health and Eco­log­i­cal Risk As­sess­ment (HHERA) in re­la­tion to PFAS con­tam­i­na­tion from RAAF Base East

Field and Game - - HEART HEALTH REPORT -

An in­for­ma­tion sheet will be pro­vided to all pur­chasers of Heart Morass keys.

The HHERA, com­mis­sioned as part of a De­part­ment of De­fence in­ves­ti­ga­tion has iden­ti­fied po­ten­tially el­e­vated risks as­so­ci­ated with the home con­sump­tion of duck meat and duck liver recre­ation­ally hunted from Heart Morass even at low con­sump­tion rates (i.e. one serve of duck a month.).

The in­terim as­sess­ment is based on cur­rently avail­able data, and makes it clear that fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion would as­sist with re­fin­ing the find­ings of the cur­rent risk as­sess­ment (specif­i­cally where po­ten­tially el­e­vated risks are iden­ti­fied), and the re­quire­ment for man­age­ment mea­sures.

We have con­sid­ered the avail­able ad­vice and re­ports on the sit­u­a­tion with the PFAS con­tam­i­na­tion at the prop­erty as a re­sult from runoff from the RAAF Base next door.

PFAS are a group of chem­i­cals that have been used ex­ten­sively for non-stick cook­ware, fab­ric pro­tec­tion and, in the case of the RAAF, fire­fight­ing foams. Although much med­i­cal re­search has been un­der­taken to de­ter­mine if PFAS lev­els in hu­mans pose a long-term threat to health, no di­rect med­i­cal link has been es­tab­lished. How­ever, with a view to cau­tion, health au­thor­i­ties have set a max­i­mum level of PFAS in hu­man tis­sue which they rec­om­mend you should avoid go­ing over. The HHERA iden­ti­fied po­ten­tially el­e­vated risks as­so­ci­ated with the home con­sump­tion of duck meat and duck liver recre­ation­ally hunted from the Heart Morass even at low con­sump­tion rates (i.e. one serve of duck/month), which will put you over this level.

Cur­rent ad­vice for med­i­cal prac­ti­tion­ers is that all Aus­tralians are ex­pected to have de­tectable lev­els of PFAS in their blood due to back­ground ex­po­sures. There is no es­tab­lished “nor­mal” PFAS range for an in­di­vid­ual in Aus­tralia or in­ter­na­tion­ally and the pres­ence of PFAS in blood is not pre­dic­tive of health prob­lems in in­di­vid­u­als.

That be­ing said, this is not a new is­sue at the RAAF Base and the Heart, although we have only just been made aware of it. Con­se­quently, by the as­sump­tions and cal­cu­la­tions in the HHERA, those hun­ters who have been con­sum­ing ducks from the Heart for many years would be ex­pected to have lev­els of PFAS in their tis­sue. Whether they do or do not, is not known. We also know that ducks fly con­sid­er­able dis­tances to feed and seek wa­ter and not con­sum­ing ducks from the Heart does not guar­an­tee that the ducks you are con­sum­ing do not have PFAS in their tis­sue. PFAS lev­els were ex­tremely high in ALL meat, skin and liver sam­ples taken from ducks at Heart Morass. Lev­els de­tected in duck liv­ers were 1000 times the trig­ger point for Food Stan­dards Aus­tralia New Zealand (FSANZ) and breast and thigh meat 100 times higher and skin

lev­els were 150 times higher. Full de­tails of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion in­clud­ing links to the HHERA re­port and health ad­vice can be found at www.de­fence.gov. au/en­vi­ron­ment/pfas/east­sale

The fol­low­ing warn­ing is­sued by the En­vi­ron­ment Pro­tec­tion Agency Prior to the HHERA re­port is still cur­rent for the Heart Morass wet­land: EPA has re­ceived re­sults of De­part­ment of De­fence (Com­mon­wealth) test­ing for PFAS on and in the vicin­ity of its East Sale site. Pre­lim­i­nary re­sults have in­di­cated el­e­vated lev­els of PFAS in fish, eels and ducks from the Heart Morass Wet­lands lo­cated ad­ja­cent to the De­part­ment of De­fence site. Peo­ple who have eaten fish, eels or ducks are not con­sid­ered to be at risk of any ad­verse health ef­fects.

Hunt­ing ac­tiv­i­ties, other than eat­ing the ducks, will not in­volve any risk of el­e­vated PFAS lev­els. This ap­plies to hun­ters wad­ing (or fall­ing) in the wa­ter as well as dogs swim­ming in it and drink­ing it.

How­ever, EPA rec­om­mends that to re­duce and pre­vent ex­po­sure to PFAS, recre­ational fish­ers and duck hun­ters do not con­sume any an­i­mals caught at the wet­lands un­til fur­ther as­sess­ment can be un­der­taken by De­fence.

FGA is ac­tively en­gaged with De­fence and EPA on this im­por­tant is­sue and we will con­tinue to pro­vide mem­bers with the lat­est in­for­ma­tion via www.fiel­dandgame. com.au FGA will con­tinue to al­low duck hunt­ing at the Wet Trust prop­erty known as the Heart Morass and as­sumes that hun­ters will eat the ducks they bag. They need to do this in the knowl­edge that to do so may cause them to ex­ceed the lev­els of PFAS rec­om­mended by Food Stan­dards Aus­tralia New Zealand.

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