​PFAS contamination investigation underway

14 Mar 2018

Government agencies are working together to fully understand and address the issue of PFAS contamination following revelations that traces of the banned substance used in firefighting foam have been found in groundwater near some Defence Force bases.

Agencies investigating the issue include Ministry for the Environment (MfE), NZ Defence Force (NZDF), Ministry of Health (MoH), Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and Fire and Emergency NZ (FENZ).

PFAS is an acronym for a group of chemical compounds known as per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances. They are a class of man-made chemicals that have been used since the 1950s in the production of a wide range of products that resist heat, stains, grease and water, including furniture protectants, floor wax, non-stick cookware and specialised firefighting foams. This widespread, but low level, use means most people have some exposure to PFAS without known health consequence. Use of PFOS has been illegal since 2006.

Products containing PFOs must never be dumped in landfill or sewerage sites, on in the environment on land or in water, even if they have been diluted or absorbed into an inert material. Go to the following links for more information.