The deadline for islanders to apply to have their blood tested for a chemical linked to cancer and kidney disease has been pushed back to next month.
Individuals now have until 6 April to organise a free visit to their GP, complete a form together, and then email it to the Government’s Public Health department.
If the application is approved, a sample of the resident’s blood will be taken at the Hospital and then sent to a lab in California, where it will be tested for PFAS – a family of manmade chemicals which growing evidence links to serious health problems.
These include cancer, birth defects, infertility and auto-immune problems.
The Government has agreed to fund blood testing, as long as residents meet a set of criteria, which includes living in areas of known contamination.
These are areas stretching out from the Airport, where one type of PFAS, called PFOS, was sprayed as an ingredient of firefighting foam for many years up to the early 90s.
Pictured: PFAS is a manmade carbon chain which was used in a variety of items until it was linked to causing cancer and other health problems.
The original deadline of 16 March for referral forms was extended after residents raised concerns about a disclaimer, which asked doctors and patients to agree that there was “no evidence for a causal relationship between PFOS/PFAS exposure and significant health impacts.”
The disclaimer now asks for confirmation that the GP and resident have read a ‘patient guidance leaflet’.
These include listing pros and cons of being tested.
The single advantage is that the concerned resident will receive reliable information about the level of PFAS in their blood.
The disadvantages listed are:
The historic use of fire-fighting foams that contained PFOS took place in Jersey before the environmental significance of PFAS was understood.
As a result, some private water supplies were contaminated, although traces of PFAS are now found throughout the island, including mains water.
For many years, the Government maintained that there was no evidence to suggest that drinking PFAS-contaminated water was harmful, but it has now modified its position in light of ever-emerging scientific research that it can cause serious illness.
The Government is prohibited from taking legal action against the manufacturer of the foam, 3M, after signing a secret deal with the company in 2005.
However, it has agreed to fund blood-testing, after receiving the backing of 3M, which has approved targeted testing but not a general screening of all islanders.
The Government say that blood testing will add to global research on potential harm.
Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.
Once your comment has been submitted, it won’t appear immediately. There is no need to submit it more than once. Comments are published at the discretion of Bailiwick Publishing, and will include your username.
There are no comments for this article.