In May 2019, a UN global treaty The Stockholm Convention listed a PFAS chemical compound called PFOA to be outlawed, this comes 10 years after they banned a similar chemical compound PFOS. Despite the international recognition on the dangerous nature of these chemicals, Australia is still yet to ratify the bans on PFOS a decade later.
Known as ‘forever’ chemicals, PFASs are man-made chemicals that do not break down in the environment, and accumulate in water, soils, biota and humans. It’s widely believed that PFASs have a negative effect on health including possible cancers and thyroid problems.
PFASs (primarily consisting of PFOS and PFOA) have been widely used in firefighting foams at dozens of Defence bases around Australia, contaminating the ground and water of nearby local residents and potentially exposing them to these toxic chemicals.
Until the Australian Government ratifies the amendments and bans PFOS and PFOA, these chemicals are still able to be used, imported and sold.
Shine Lawyers is conducting class actions to claim compensation for people who have been affected PFAS contamination in Oakey and Katherine. Joshua Aylward, a special counsel in the class action team, believes that an inevitable ban by the Australian Government will highlight the dangerous nature of PFASs and why people affected deserve compensation.
“Australia’s ratification of the Stockholm Convention would be another piece of evidence that we would put forward in our case to show why these chemicals should not have been released from these Defence bases, and why the communities deserve compensation,” says Joshua.
“The Government is delaying the ratification of these chemicals because of the class actions, but also because of the cost of implementing the ban Australia wide.”
Other than Australia, the only other countries not to have ratified the Stockholm Convention, and ban PFOS, are Bahrain, Bangladesh, India, Republic of Moldova, Russian Federation, Slovenia and Vanuatu.
Contact Shine Lawyers
If you own or have owned property in areas that have been affected by PFAS contamination, please contact Shine Lawyers to see if we can assist in getting you the compensation you deserve.
Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: June 3, 2019.