Australian defence admits three-year delay in warning of toxic foam danger



The Department of Defence has admitted it should have warned the public about a chemical contamination scandal three years earlier than it did — and says the cost to taxpayers to clean up the problem nationwide will mount into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Key points:

  • Defence admits it should have gone public about the dangers of perfluorinated chemicals three years before it did
  • The chemicals entered groundwater after being used at 18 bases around Australia
  • US authorities have warned of a "probable link" between the chemicals and cancer

Defence is now tackling perfluorinated chemical pollution — the source of which was the widespread use of firefighting foam — at no fewer than 18 Defence bases across the country. 


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