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Aon warns about PFAS chemicals

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Aon has warned property sellers, developers and construction companies to do due diligence on properties to ensure they haven’t been contaminated by per-and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS chemicals.

There is growing concern globally about exposure to PFAS chemicals, which are linked to cancer cases. Some 90 Australian sites are being investigated for elevated levels of PFAS.

The chemicals have been used extensively in firefighting foams, as well as a range of consumer products, including non-stick pans and textiles. They are man-made, do not degrade easily, are easily transportable and can accumulate higher up the food chain.

Aon says failure to address the issue properly can be costly and damaging to reputations. A series of legal actions are being brought against the Department of Defence over PFAS chemicals being allegedly mishandled.

The broker says property sellers, developers and construction should determine if PFAS was ever used on a site or in adjacent properties, and assess any current exposures and how high the levels might be.

A PFAS National Environment plan was released this year which provides guidance for organisations dealing with PFAS-related issues.