The heads of all state and territory EPAs and the Federal Government have released a National Environment Management Plan for PFAS (per-and poly-fluoroalkyl substances) to help protect the environment and human health.
The National Plan details what regulators view as suitable practices to handling contamination and waste from these long-lasting chemicals.
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It describes how to properly deal with and clean up contaminated sites, how to best treat soil and waste, and methods for safely destroying the chemicals.
PFAS are manufactured chemicals that make products heat resistant, non-stick, water repellent, and weather and stain resistant.
Prior to the plan, there was no consistent guidance or direction for communities that had been affected by PFAS.
Environment Protection Authority Victoria’s Executive Director Assessments, Tim Eaton, said PFAS chemicals have been used for decades in a range of products, including pesticides, stain repellents and fire-fighting foams.
“PFAS compounds have had a wide range of uses because they resist heat, chemical and biological degradation, and are very stable,” Mr Eaton said.
“There is now growing concern worldwide about the effects of PFAS on our health and on animals and plants, because of that chemical stability and the fact that they easily enter the environment, moving into soil, creeks, rivers and lakes. We know there are sites with PFAS contamination, so we are working collectively to manage them.”
The plan can be read at http://www.epa.vic.gov.au/PFAS_NMP