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Blood tests for Oakey, Williamtown locals

AAP logoAAP 30/11/2016 Stuart Layt

Residents living near defence bases where there's been major chemical contaminations have been given free access to blood testing.

Oakey, in southern Queensland, and the NSW town of Williamtown have been worst plagued by firefighting foam that was used on 14 bases around the country and leached into local soil and groundwater.

The federal government claims there is no consistent evidence the chemicals - perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) - cause health problems in humans.

However they have announced a $55 million voluntary blood testing program, starting on Thursday, and will encourage all those tested to participate in an epidemiological study to find out the full extent of the effects.

The government has also arranged for increased mental health services and counselling for residents living in the affected areas.

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