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Greens demand investigation into toxic contaminants found in dead dolphins

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 13 Mar 2017
The Greens have called for a full and immediate investigation into contamination of perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) in the Swan River, following reports that dead dolphins in the Swan River were found with high levels of PFCs.

Greens NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon said, “This is deeply concerning and warrants immediate government investigation.

“The Department of Defence’s own preliminary ecological risk assessment into contamination at Williamtown in NSW shows that these chemicals pose potentially ‘unacceptable risks’ to plants and animals.

“Part of the reason perfluorinated compounds can be so dangerously toxic is that they are extremely persistent, and do not break down. Manufacturers of these chemicals have known since the 1970s.

“Many thousands of people around the world, including hundreds in Australia, have had their health and homes badly impacted by these chemical contaminants.” 

Greens WA Senator Rachel Siewert said, "I think Western Australians will be shocked at the appalling high level of contamination of dolphins in the Swan River.

“It is pretty atrocious that the outgoing Minister for the Environment sat on this information for so long. This lack of transparency by the former state government will not be missed. 

“The Turnbull government is reluctant to talk about it but there are currently several active investigations into toxic contamination of these chemicals right across the country, including in Western Australia.

“From a WA perspective I will continue to seek answers about the contamination caused by fire-fighting foam and what that means for the environment, our water, and our communities.”

Australia is a signatory to the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee to the Stockholm Convention, and has a delegate on the committee. Last year the Committee concluded that ‘PFOA, its salts and PFOA related compounds are likely… to lead to significant adverse human health and environmental effects such that global action is warranted’. 

The Greens initiated the Senate inquiry into Contamination of Australia's Defence Force facilities and other Commonwealth, state and territory sites in Australia. 

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