CHEMICAL experts say blood banks should stop accepting donated blood containing high levels of the potentially deadly chemicals at the centre of the Australian Defence Force contamination crisis.
However, Red Cross Blood Service spokeswoman Rebecca DiGirolamo insists there is “no evidence” to suggest donations with large amounts of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) pose a risk to recipients.
But contamination experts disagree and are urging blood banks to immediately cease using donations containing high levels of the toxins.
The warning came after Adelaide man Geoff Fuller, who had a 36-year career as a firefighter at airports including Adelaide Airport, was informed by the blood service last week that he was no longer allowed to donate blood.
Mr Fuller, a regular donor, said he was told so after tests revealed he had high levels of PFOS and PFOA — part of the per-fluoroalkyl and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) group of toxins — in his system.
However, two days later Mr Fuller, of Underdale, was contacted by the service and told staff at the blood bank had overreacted and would resume accepting his blood.
PFOS and PFOA, which have contaminated more than a dozen army, navy and air force bases, including the Edinburgh RAAF base, have been linked to cancer in people and animals in numerous studies across the world.
The toxins, which do not break down in the environment, were used in firefighting foam at defence bases and airports until the early 2000s.
Professor Ravi Naidu, from independent contamination research and assessment organisation CRC Care, was adamant blood banks should not accept donations from people with high levels of PFOS and PFOA in their system.
He warned there was “significant risk” associated with transfusing blood contaminated with the toxins.
“Donations from people who have been exposed to PFAS and who demonstrate presence of PHAS must not be accepted,” Professor Naidu said.
Dr Marianna Lloyd-Smith, from the National Toxics Network, agreed blood donations should not be accepted from people who have been exposed to high levels of PFOS and PFOA.
“They have significantly higher levels and you really wouldn’t want them to be giving blood,” she said.
“I would suggest that they speak to their blood donation officers and tell them. I (also) think the blood banks need to be proactive and ask people.”
Blood testing of some aviation firefighters has found their levels