Melbourne firefighters in blood study

Victorian firefighters in study to find out if blood donations can reduce chemicals in their system.
Victorian firefighters in study to find out if blood donations can reduce chemicals in their system.

Melbourne firefighters will give regular blood and plasma donations as part of a world-first study into reducing chemicals in their system.

A 12-month clinical pilot study through Macquarie University will look at whether the regular donations lower the level of polyfluroalkyl substances, or PFAS, in firefighters' blood.

About 350 firefighters and staff are taking part in it, the Metropolitan Fire Brigade announced on Monday.

PFAS are a diverse group of manufactured chemicals resistant to heat, water and oil and are often used in household products including non-stick cookware, fabric and food packaging.

But it is also still used in some firefighting foams, exposing firefighters to higher levels than the general public.

MFB Chief Officer Dan Stephens said while there is currently no legislation in Victoria restricting the use of PFAS, the brigade has its own exposure limits for crews and decontamination programs for equipment.

The study has been endorsed by the United Firefighters Union.

Australian Associated Press