Recreational water use

23 Aug 2020

The amount of PFAS swallowed accidentally while using West Lakes will be very small and therefore, even if the water contains small amounts of PFAS, it would not pose a health risk. Exposure to PFAS from recreational water may occur while undertaking activities such as swimming, rowing, fishing, or sailboarding. The most likely route of exposure to PFAS is accidentally swallowing the lake water during activities involving full immersion in water.

Dermal absorption through skin contact is slow, and does not result in significant exposure. PFAS chemicals are essentially non‐volatile, which means they do not evaporate and will not be in the air or pose a risk from inhalation. PFAS exposure may occur by consuming fish caught within the Adelaide metropolitan region. The EPA has undertaken a survey to assess the risk from PFAS to the marine environment, particularly focusing on higher risk locations such as the Port River.

Commonly targeted recreational fish and invertebrates from the inner Port and North Arm region have been sampled, with PFAS found to be stored predominantly in the liver. Lower concentrations were found in the frames, and the fillets had the lowest concentration. While small traces of one type of PFAS was found in the flesh of fish and invertebrates, advice from SA Health was that they were all safe to eat.

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