"...per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances have been utilized in various products, leading to their accumulation in soil..."
The government of Australia has agreed to reach a settlement in a class action lawsuit concerning toxic contamination from firefighting foam.
On Sunday, the Australia government agreed to pay a sum of 132.7 million Australian dollars (88.3 million U.S. dollars) to 30,000 inhabitants residing in seven communities dispersed throughout Australia. These residents had initiated a lawsuit against the Department of Defense, holding it accountable for the distribution of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) into their soil and groundwater.
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances have been utilized in various products, leading to their accumulation in soil, water, and the human body. Furthermore, these substances have been associated with an increased incidence of cancer in individuals.
The legal case brought against the government, scheduled to commence in the Federal Court on Monday, pertained to the Department of Defense's alleged exposure of the surrounding communities to toxic chemicals as a result of employing firefighting foam across various military bases.
Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, acknowledged that the use of PFAS has resulted in considerable distress throughout the nation.
"People have, across a range of communities, suffered from the use of this," the minister said to reporters; adding "The biggest concern that I have with PFAS isn't, of course, a financial one -- it is the health outcomes of people who are affected by it."
According to Craig Allsopp, co-head of class actions at Shine Lawyers and legal counsel for the seven affected communities, the positive outcome is subject to approval by the court, stating, "The settlement money, if approved, will go some way to compensate the seven communities in this class action for their losses. However, many are still stuck on contaminated land."