The Australian National University (ANU) is calling for people in the Shoalhaven and Kiama areas to have a free blood test and complete a survey to help better understand the health effects of Per-and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) contamination.
The results from these areas will be compared with results from Oakey, Katherine and Williamtown, where there is known PFAS contamination.
The blood specimens will be tested to measure PFAS levels and other blood chemicals linked to blood fats (like cholesterol) and others that show how well the liver, kidneys, and thyroid are working.
Areas like Dalby, Alice Springs and Shellharbour will be included in the survey.
Overcoming weeks, invitations from Services Australia will be sent to randomly selected residents in these areas.
The invitation will include information about the study and ask invitees to contact the PFAS Health Study Team at ANU if they would like to participate.
PFAS chemicals have been manufactured since the 1950s and are used in a variety of consumer products, including non-stick cookware, waterproof clothing, and fabric stain protection.
The chemicals last for a long time in the human body.
The environment around the towns of Oakey, Katherine and Williamtown has been affected due to the historic use of fire-fighting foams that contained PFAS. Members of the Oakey, Katherine and Williamtown communities have been potentially exposed to PFAS through the consumption of contaminated water, and possibly from eating some locally grown foods.
The ANU is conducting the PFAS Health Study, which is investigating whether exposure to these chemicals and disease rates are higher in Oakey, Katherine and Williamtown compared with Shoalhaven Dalby, Alice Springs and Kiama/Shellharbour.
Study lead, Professor Martyn Kirk, said the study is important because it will give a more complete picture of PFAS exposure in Australia.
"We will use the information from people in the Shoalhaven, Kiama, Dalby, Alice Springs and Shellharbour areas to understand exposure in areas where PFAS hasn't contaminated the environment," Professor Kirk said.
"We want to find clear answers about the health effects of PFAS exposure," he said.