Katherine residents are already lining up to have their blood tested.

To cope with the rush, Gorge Health is going to open each Saturday morning from now on, to cater for the demand.

Residents have been offered free blood testing by the Federal Government to discover the levels of PFAS chemicals in their bodies.

PFAS has been found in our drinking water, food, soil and fish after it leaked from the Tindal RAAF Base where it was contained in firefighting foams used in training for many years.

Although the PFAS foams have been phased out, and urgent action has brought drinking water contamination down below the current recommended “safe” level, the PFAS continues to leak from the base.

Residents have been given more than a year to line up for their free blood test.

Almost 20 lined up for a blood test last Saturday.

Gorge Health’s Dr P.J. Spafford today said the tests take about 30 minutes to complete.

The Federal Government has committed $5.7 million for a community support package which includes a Voluntary Blood Testing Program, an epidemiological study and dedicated mental health and counselling services…

Gorge Health on First Street will open their doors exclusively for the blood testing from 8-10am each Saturday, excluding public holidays like Easter.

No appointments are necessary, residents are invited on a walk-in basis.

The Voluntary Blood Testing Program will provide one free PFAS blood test to those people who live or  work, or have lived or worked, in the RAAF Base Tindal Investigation Area…

Health authorities say a positive blood test for PFAS contaminants will not  indicate, by itself, any harm to a person’s health.

It is expected that the ANU will visit Katherine in the near future to provide more information to the  community about the epidemiological study.

The Northern Territory Primary Health Network has been funded to commission dedicated mental health and counselling services to support the Katherine community in this period of uncertainty.”

Read the full article by Chris McLennan.

How to get a blood test.