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Toxic Truth: Defence bunkers down over foam. THE Department of Defence is accused of trying to limit its responses to the Williamtown water contamination scandal because of concerns about possible contamination at other Australian Defence facilities.

Toxic Truth: Defence bunkers down over foam

A training excercise in the 1980s where a truck was sprayed with contaminated AFFF foam. Picture supplied by the Royal Australian Navy "Fleet Ar Arm" taken at HMAS Albatross, Nowra. Toxic Truth: More stories Toxic truth: Archive The claim comes as former Defence personnel allege widespread and unrestricted use of contaminated firefighting foam at Royal Australian Navy bases at Nowra and Jervis Bay over decades, in line with a 2007 Defence report saying it was used ‘‘without any environmental considerations’’.

The Department of Defence has confirmed likely future testing at other Australian Defence sites as it develops a ‘‘master plan to address the issue of possible wider contamination’’. The number of tests to be completed remained unresolved after weeks of discussions, she said. Fire-alerting proving trials in 3 AD Hangar Amberley / A.W. Moulen. PM - ADF owns up to toxic foam cloud. MARK COLVIN: A massive quantity of toxic foam has escaped from an Air Force hangar in Darwin and blown across the city.

PM - ADF owns up to toxic foam cloud

The Australian Defence Force has admitted responsibility after scores of people saw clouds of the white substance floating in the skies yesterday. Many people, including young children, touched it as it fell to earth. The Air Force says it's an "aqueous film forming foam" which is the main chemical used to stop fires in aircraft. But it's so toxic that the manufacturer, 3M, stopped making the product five years ago. And as Anne Barker reports, defence authorities were reluctant to answer the hard questions from the media this afternoon. ANNE BARKER: All over town Darwin residents were baffled yesterday when large masses of foamy white material began blowing across the sky and falling to earth. VOX POP: I was up the backyard and I just looked up and saw these white clumps coming down. VOX POP 3: We got a wheelie bin and we climbed on top and we touched it. Toxic foam drifts over Darwin. Toxic fire-fighting foam phased out by fire brigades years ago because of health concerns has drifted into Darwin suburbs after an electrical fault at a defence base.

Toxic foam drifts over Darwin

The US-made foam was emitted on Sunday by an automatic fire suppression system at the Darwin RAAF base and blew into nearby suburbs, authorities said. A Northern Territory defence spokeswoman identified the foam as Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF), which is classed as "a medium-toxicity irritant. " The American company 3M stopped manufacturing AFFF in 2000 following environmental testing, although it continued to sell existing stocks.

The use of AFFF at the Darwin base was confirmed by Kelly Cooper, the Defence Regional Manager of Public Affairs NT. Firefighters in the Northern Territory stopped using the product, which contains the hazardous chemical perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), in late 2003. Authorities knew of RAAF’s toxic spread two years ago. NSW authorities were informed more than two years ago that toxic chemicals had spread off the Williamtown RAAF Base, but did nothing to inform the public.

Authorities knew of RAAF’s toxic spread two years ago

Oyster farmer Mark Salm wants authorities to come clean. Picture: Nick Moir Chemicals in water exceeded standards: report CFA training base shut due to health fears. The real cost of pesticides in Australia's food boom. More than A$17 billion worth of crops grown in Australia annually is attributed to agricultural pesticides.

The real cost of pesticides in Australia's food boom

That’s a staggering 68% of the A$26 billion industry, according to a recent Deloitte report commissioned by CropLife Australia. So should we all pat ourselves on the back and eat up? Most of us want cheap, perfect-looking produce and farmers want to make a decent living. Agricultural pesticides have undoubtedly reduced food loss and helped farmers provide the unblemished produce we have grown so used to. But pesticides also represent a significant source of risk for human and wildlife health, and pollution into our waterways. What are the costs of pesticides? Pesticides (insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides) are applied over large areas in agriculture and urban settings. The overuse and reliance on pesticides has resulted in weeds and insects developing resistance to insecticides and herbicides. Pests developing resistance to pesticides isn’t the only problem. JUST RELEASED: The Human Experiment Trailer.

JUST RELEASED: The Human Experiment Trailer.