High levels of chemicals in Oakey kids: Senate hearing

CHILDREN living in Oakey are infected with high levels of chemicals in their blood and scientists don't know why, a Senate public hearing heard today.

Giving evidence to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee, Dr Eric Donaldson said he knew of a child with at least 200 parts per million in her blood.

The investigation is looking into land and groundwater contamination caused by toxic firefighting foam that was used in the Oakey Army Aviation Centre for decades.

Bores have been contaminated with the chemicals perfluorooctane sulfonate and perfluorooctanoic acid, which have been linked to cancer and other health issues.

Dr Donaldson, who worked for a long time as a medical officer at the army base, said the child had high levels of the chemicals in her bloodstream, despite never having drunk the water.

He is investigating how people are continuing to imbibe the chemicals despite a Defence statement warning people not to drink water from the bores.

Toowoomba Regional Council has also given evidence at the hearing, with water and waste services general manager Kevin Flanagan assuring the panel that town water in Oakey is currently safe to drink.

He outlined the extensive costs that council will have to incur to replace water supply to Oakey following the discovery of the contamination.