Skip links and keyboard navigation

Mackay PFAS

Pollution notice (313F Public Health Act 2005)

Warning regarding consumption of fish caught near Mackay Airport

Fish caught in Shell Grit Creek next to the Mackay Airport should not be eaten following Airservices Australia PFAS testing.

The test results showed elevated levels of the chemical and consequently, possible health risks for people who eat the fish over a long period of time.

Based on the results, Queensland Health advises:

  • The public should avoid consuming fish from Shell Grit Creek. However, infrequent consumption (every few months) of a meal of seafood from the creek should not present a health risk.
  • Fish is an important part of a healthy diet and should come from a variety of sources.
  • The public are reminded that consumption of most species of fish from other areas should be limited to 2 to 3 serves per week in line with advice on mercury in fish published by Food Standards Australia New Zealand, where a serve is 75 grams for children up to six years and 150 grams for the rest of the population.
  • Anyone concerned about their health should talk their doctor or call 13HEALTH (13 43 25 84).

Queensland Health has advised Air Services Australia and Mackay Airport of the need to erect suitable signs on the creek advising the public not consume fish from the creek.

Queensland Health and the Department of Environment and Science are working with the involved parties to ensure the community is informed and appropriate action is taken.

Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS, are a group of manufactured chemicals that have been used since the 1950s in a range of products that resist heat, oil, stains, grease and water. The compounds were used in some firefighting foams used in Australia for firefighting and firefighting training. They can persist for a long time in the environment and tend to accumulate in the bodies of animals and people.

Dr Jeannette Young
Chief Health Officer
Queensland Department of Health
30 July 2019

Last updated: 1 August 2019