PFAS blood test too 'arduous and costly'
LESS than 75 people have taken the opportunity to have their blood tested to check for levels of PFAS since the Svensson Heights town water was found to be contaminated two weeks ago.
On April 13 the Bundaberg community was made aware that per-and Poly-luoroalkyl substances, PFAS, was in the council's drinking water.
Authorities were quick to act and stopped the water supply on April 12.
After the information broke residents said they were worried despite being assured the risk to their health was low, by the Department of Health.
The Department then offered voluntary blood testing with the purpose to provide some information about the potential exposure to PFAS.
The NewsMail spoke with a number of Svensson Heights residents who said even though it was a "free” blood test there was still a cost to some and the process was long.
Petrina Medlock has lived in the contaminated area for 10 years and is yet to take up the blood test.
Although Ms Medlock is keen to have the testing done she said the process was "arduous and costly” and this was likely the reason why not many people had followed through with it yet.
"We have to take time out of our schedule to book an appointment with a doctor at our own cost to get a pathology request on a private pathology form to take it to a public pathology and wait to be tested,” she said.
"There's no reason for it to be so difficult and we should not have to to it at our own expense.”
Ms Medlock believes it's important to collect the data now at the point of discovery so there is collective data as a starting point to track any potential health effects.
"The data is probably not that useful to us now but may be useful in the future should we need it later to inform individual and community decision making,” she said.
"I would like to see Queensland Health provide the tests for free direct from a public health clinic with results sent to our local GP.”
Trudy and Justin Bryer also live in Svensson Heights with their two children, Mrs Bryer was pregnant with her youngest while living in the area.
The couple said they would have their blood tested this week and depending on the results they would then decide if the children should be tested.
The family not only consumed the town water but ate eggs from their backyard chickens.
They were shocked to find out the contamination may have spread to the eggs and authorities warned them not to consume the eggs days after the contamination was confirmed.
To date 73 people have had their blood collected.
The Department said results were confidential and expected to take up to three weeks.
"De-identified blood testing results from people who have consented to share them with officers from the local public health unit will also be assessed to give a better picture of the situation,” a spokesman said.
"People should contact their GP to discuss their results.”
More information about blood testing is available at: https://bit.ly/2Koe2bh