The Australian government is spending $12.5 million to figure out if non-stick pans are bad for your health.

The 2017 federal budget reveals the sum will be spent over four years from 2017-18 to establish a National Research Program to study the potential effects of exposure to per-and poly-fluorinated alkyl substances on human health.

The study is inspired by contamination around the Williamstown RAAF base near Newcastle, NSW, where PFAS (mainly PFOS) have historically been used in fire-fighting foams to extinguish class B liquid fires. The contamination led to local residents being told not to use groundwater, bore water or surface water for drinking or cooking and to avoid swallowing groundwater or surface water. They were also told to avoid eating home grown food and locally caught fish and property prices in the area have plummeted as a result.

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