EPA PFAS consumption advice

On the eve of the Victorian duck hunting season, Environment Protection Authority Victoria’s (EPA) is reminding hunters about consumption advice for waterfowl taken from some Gippsland and Bellarine Peninsula wetlands.

“Following a statewide testing program of waterfowl, EPA issued consumption advice for waterfowl taken from Heart and Dowd Morass, East Sale and Macleod Morass, Bairnsdale, as well as Hospital Swamp on the Bellarine Peninsula due to PFAS levels above food trigger values,” said EPA Chief Environmental Scientist, Dr Andrea Hinwood.

The state-wide waterfowl testing program, which followed consumption advice for the sites in East Sale, did not show a widespread presence of PFAS (per- and poly-fluorinated alkyl substances) above environmental criteria and food levels in the wetlands that were tested.  

“Most tests did not show PFAS above  our guidelines, but the results from tests on ducks taken from Macleod Morass in Bairnsdale, East Gippsland and Hospital Swamp near Barwon Heads, have,” said Dr Hinwood.

EPA is advising children and adults that livers from ducks taken at the Macleod Morass Wetland and Hospital Swamp should not be consumed and consumption of duck breast meat should be limited to one serve (75g) per month for children.

Dr Hinwood said It was only possible to collect ducks for testing from a limited number of wetlands around the state.

“As the testing was limited, EPA is not claiming to have definitively mapped PFAS throughout the state, but the results are indicative that, while PFAS can be found almost anywhere, it is not usually above guideline limits,” said Dr Hinwood

“We recommend that hunters should exercise caution when consuming ducks from sites nearby wetlands with current health advisories.

“For example, Reedy Lake is within 2 km of Hospital Swamp and ducks can freely move between these wetlands. Waterfowl collected from Reedy Lake should be treated the same as those collected from Hospital Swamp until more evidence is collected.

“EPA will be investigating PFAS concentrations further in these areas.”

PFAS are a group of man-made substances, many of which are in widespread and common use including in historic firefighting foams and in home products like non-stick pans and carpet treatments. 

While there is still no consistent evidence that PFAS cause any specific illness in humans, they can persist in humans for many years.  EPA is taking a cautionary approach to minimise risk and recommends against consumption of animal products or water where PFAS levels are considered high. 

The full report will be published on the EPA website soon. Fact Sheets are available at:

Consumption advice for recreationally harvested waterfowl

https://www.epa.vic.gov.au/our-work/publications/publication/2019/march/1732

Consumption advice for recreationally caught fish

https://www.epa.vic.gov.au/our-work/publications/publication/2019/march/1735

Ambient concentrations of PFAS in the Latrobe Valley

https://www.epa.vic.gov.au/our-work/publications/publication/2019/march/1736

EPA Community Information Session: PFAS

EPA will hold a community information session on contamination from per-and-poly fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS):

When: Thursday 28 March, 2019 5pm to 7pm.

Where: Sale Baptist Church, Princes Hwy & Cobains Rd, Sale

Go to the EPA Events web page to register then drop in anytime

EPA PFAS Affected Areas Consumption Advice

Heart Morass Wetland

Do not consume fish, eels or ducks harvested at the Heart Morass Wetland. This includes both the State Game Reserve and private land.

Dowd Morass Wetland

Do not consume ducks harvested from the Dowd Morass Wetland.

Do not consume more than 2-3 serves of fish and eel per week from the Dowd Morass Wetland.

Lower Latrobe River

Do not consume more than one serve of eel per month from the Lower Latrobe River bounded by Heart Morass, or

Do not consume more than one serve of carp per week caught from the Lower Latrobe River bounded by Heart Morass.

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Note, at the time of publication there is no precautionary consumption advice for recreational fishing of redfin, yellow belly, mullet or estuary perch from the Lower Latrobe River.

, at the time of publication there is no precautionary consumption advice for recreational fishing of redfin, yellow belly, mullet or estuary perch from the Lower Latrobe River.

Macleod Morass

Children and adults should not consume duck liver. Children should limit their consumption of duck breast meat to one serve (75g) per month from Macleod Morass Wetland.

Kernot Lake

Do not consumer fish or eels taken from Morwell’s Kernot Lake

Hazelwood Pondage

Restrict the consumption of barramundi caught at the Hazelwood Pondage to no more than one serve per week for adults and one serve per fortnight for children

Restrict the consumption of barramundi caught at the Hazelwood Pondage to no more than one serve per week for adults and one serve per fortnight for children

Hospital Swamp

Children and adults should not consume duck liver. Children should limit their consumption of duck breast meat to one serve (75g) per month from Hospital Swamp.

Children and adults should not consume duck liver. Children should limit their consumption of duck breast meat to one serve (75g) per month from Hospital Swamp.

Maribyrnong River

EPA recommends anglers don’t fish in the Maribyrnong River upstream of Solomons Ford in Avondale Heights to Deep Creek at Bulla and within all of Arundel Creek. The advice also applies to recreational uses of Arundel Creek or using water from the creek for irrigation or stock watering purposes. Pets should not be allowed to swim in the water.

/Public Release. View in full here.