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F-111 workers ‘at higher cancer risk’

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An Australian Defence Force (ADF) study has found 900 servicemen who worked on F-111s in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s have an increased risk of developing cancer.

The study assessed the risk for those who worked on the F-111 re-seal/de-seal fuel tank maintenance program.Two years ago, the ADF released a report which found 400 workers at its Amberley Air Force Base near Brisbane were exposed to chemicals which made them sick.A study was ordered to assess the risk of cancer and that report has now been released.The new report’s author, John Attia, says he firmly believes there is a link between the fuel tank program and cancer.”Basically what the study found was that there appears to be a 50 per cent increase in the incidence of cancer among the people who worked on ‘de-seal/re-seal,” Dr Attia said.He added: “Certainly this study does support – there is some evidence there for their claims.”We obviously can’t be 100 per cent certain, all we can actually say now is there does appear to be an association but we can’t pinpoint what the positive factor was.”Lawyer Simon Harrison, a Brisbane lawyer representing many of the maintenance workers, hopes the latest findings will help ADF workers achieve full recognition of their illnesses and compensation from the Government.”It means that at long last they’ve actually been vindicated,” he said.”In terms of liability aspects, this report has really nailed the Commonwealth so far as cancer is concerned.”I just hope that the Commonwealth fully accepts these recommendations.”A spokesman for the ADF says the findings will require further analysis and will form part of a wider health report due by the end of the year.He says the Department of Veterans Affairs will consider the report in determining eligibility for compensation and ongoing care for those affected.(Source: ABC News: July 2004)

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Posted On: 20 July, 2004
Modified On: 3 December, 2013


Created by: myVMC