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PFAS Scientific Advisory Panel formed

05 June 2023

The PFAS Scientific Advisory Panel, which will advise and make recommendations to Government in relation to the finding of higher than benchmarked levels of PFAS chemical in Islanders blood has now been formed, following a global search. 

The panel is led by independent chair Dr Steve Hajioff, and will include a PFAS and health expert, Dr Tony Fletcher, an epidemiologist with over 40 years’ experience in occupational and environmental epidemiology and risk assessment, including studies of exposure, biomonitoring and health impacts such as cancer, respiratory disease and metabolic disorders. 

He has been researching the health effects of PFAS since 2005 and has been part of major investigations into PFOA polluted drinking water and epidemiology programmes in PFAS contaminated communities. 

Dr Hajioff and Dr Fletcher will be joined on the panel by a PFAS and environment expert, Professor Ian Cousins, a professor in environmental organic chemistry at the department of environmental science at Stockholm University. 

Professor Cousins leads research groups focusing on understanding the sources, transport, fate and exposure of organic contaminants and is particularly well known for his research on PFAS. 

The panel will call additional global experts and experts by experience to present evidence to the panel to support with the reports the panel will provide to the Government. 

The first meeting in public of the panel will be held in June, to discuss the content for the first report. The meeting will be held virtually, and Islanders will be able to attend to listen to the discussions and address the panel. 

The panel will report to the Director of Public Health, Professor Peter Bradley. 

The topics and reports the panel will examine to allow for an evidenced-informed approach to decision-making and a considered response to PFAS matters on the Island are: 

  1. Review of therapeutic phlebotomy (having blood taken to reduce PFAS levels) 
  2. Evidence of the impact of PFAS exposure on health, and an assessment of clinical interventions 
  3. PFAS blood testing and re-testing 
  4. Environmental management 

Professor Peter Bradley, Director of Public Health said: “I am pleased to announce that the PFAS Scientific Advisory Panel has now been assembled. I look forward to working with the Panel experts who will also engage with Islanders to develop our evidence base to help inform future decision making.” 

Independent Chair Dr Steve Hajioff said: "I am excited by the calibre and experience of the individuals who have agreed to join the panel, and also by the other experts who have agreed to provide the panel with specialist advice on particular areas. I believe that we will receive the best possible guidance on the risks of PFAS exposure and how to reduce them.” 

PFAS and environment expert, Professor Ian Cousins said: “I am keen to utilise years of PFAS research to support the Panel’s ambition in Jersey. This is an interesting opportunity to work closely with other experts and hear from the Island community about what matters to them.” 

PFAS and Health expert, Dr Tony Fletcher said: “Understanding further the evidence on health impacts of PFAS exposure will be important both for local communities and decision-making bodies, now and in the future. I was delighted to be appointed to the PFAS Scientific Advisory Panel, having worked around the world on PFAS contamination and health effects, and I am looking forward to engaging with colleagues and hearing about the lived experiences of Islanders.”

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