PFAS test results show elevated levels in eels in Old Fairhall Stream

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PFAS test results show elevated levels in eels in Old Fairhall Stream

Marlborough District Council was advised this afternoon by the New Zealand Defence Force and the Ministry of Primary Industries of test results of eels from the vicinity of Woodbourne Air Base, near Blenheim.

MPI has provisionally advised the Council that eels from the Old Fairhall Stream should not be consumed. The Ministry says that while there is no current evidence to suggest an increase in overall health risk related to PFAS exposure, it is taking a precautionary approach.

The Old Fairhall Creek, a spring-fed, shallow tributary, runs from David Street to Purkiss Street, on the Western edge of Blenheim.

Council’s Freshwater Ecologist Peter Hamill says international science continues to develop on PFAS contamination in fish and waterways.

“Eels are higher up the food chain and tend to stay confined to smaller stretches of waterways.”

“Overseas investigations in Australia, the Netherlands, Sweden and Canada have shown similar ranges of PFAS levels in freshwater fish species.”

“There is no acute health risk from the water itself, for example should a dog drink from it or swim in it.”

“This waterway is relatively inaccessible, therefore we anticipate very few eels are consumed from it.”

Signage will be erected in the area.

It’s important to note that PFAS chemicals have been widely used in a range of consumer and industrial products. People are exposed to small amounts of some PFAS in everyday life, through food, dust, air, water and contact with products that contain these compounds.

Further information available on the Ministry for the Environment website


The information in this media statement was correct at time of publication. Changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of the information.