Release of Jet Fuel Exposure Syndrome Study
30 April 2015
The Department of Defence today released the Jet Fuel Exposure Syndrome (JFES) Study into the effects of jet fuel and solvents on the health of former F-111 Deseal/Reseal Defence personnel.
The Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Geoff Brown AO, met yesterday with F-111 Deseal/Reseal and fire-fighter representatives of those who participated in the study to discuss the report and their health concerns ahead of today’s release.
“It is important that Air Force provides the most up-to-date health information to our current and former workforce, on the effects of occupational exposure to jet fuel,” Air Marshal Brown said.
“Our people are our most important asset, and I will continue to implement practical measures, such as safe work processes and the use of protective equipment, to minimise exposure to JP8 jet fuel.
“It is important to me that our personnel both past and present, have access to this independent research,” Air Marshal Brown said.
Defence’s Senior Physician in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Doctor Ian Gardner explained that the study utilised the latest university and medical research technologies into molecular and genetic aspects of cell biology. The study found small but persistent cellular effects many years after exposure.
“The study found that while the kerosene component of jet fuel could adversely affect cells, the damage to cellular function is not expected to have immediate or adverse health effects,” Dr Gardner explained.
The study did not find any evidence of genetic or chromosomal damage in cells exposed to jet fuel or the deseal/reseal solvents. Dr Gardner explained that a positive finding was that there is no evidence found for the Jet Fuel to cause genetic or chromosomal damage that could lead to cancers.
“DVA and Defence are continuing to work on studies such as the 4th Update to the F-111 Mortality and Cancer Incidence Study and the ADF Firefighter Study which are being finalised,” Dr Gardner said.
The $3 million JFES Study was undertaken by researchers at the Mater Medical Research Institute in Brisbane led by Prof Frank Bowling. The JFES Study resulted from initial research work undertaken by Air Force personnel.
The JFES Study can be downloaded at www.airforce.gov.au, and key findings are summarised in the attached fact sheet.
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999