Potentially cancer-causing chemicals in Katherine pool have locals worried

By Alice Richard
Tuesday, 26 September, 2017

Locals in the NT town of Katherine have raised concerns over chemical levels in their town pool, with PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) levels almost reaching the maximum permitted level.

According to the ABC, recent readings are showing PFAS levels of 0.6 micrograms per litre of pool water; the safety threshold is 0.7 micrograms per litre, which is 10 times the acceptable limit for drinking water.

PFAS are man-made compounds found in hundreds of products such as upholstery, mattresses, carpets, food packaging and non-stick cookware, and were widely used at the Tindal RAAF base just outside of Katherine in the late 1990s and early 2000s in firefighting foam.

They easily accumulate in the human body and can stay there for long periods of time. Some can cause problems like tumours, reproductive problems and immune system effects.

Fortnightly tests of the pool water are being carried out, with the council adhering to Defence guidelines for acceptable PFAS levels in water, the ABC reported. The council CEO Robert Jennings told the ABC that the pool would most likely be closed if levels hit the maximum permitted level of 0.7 micrograms per litre.

The NT Government imposed water restrictions on the town in August 2017 to limit the amount of PFAS-contaminated bore water needed to boost the town’s water supply during the dry season.

To read the full story from the ABC, click here.

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