WORLD FIRST RESEARCH STUDY ON JET FUEL AND F-111 AIRCRAFT FUEL TANK MAINTENANCE WORKERS
Thursday, 16 Dec 2010

Released by Defence Media Centre

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, Warren Snowdon, today announced a multi-million dollar research study into the health implications of working with aviation turbine fuels and F-111 Deseal/Reseal agents.

The Jet Fuel Exposure Syndrome Study is in response to a parliamentary inquiry’s report into F-111 workers and their families.

“Defence is undertaking world first, ground breaking research into the F-111 Deseal/Reseal exposure to look at possible DNA changes in these workers and what may be causing these changes."

“We hope this research will help us understand why some Defence personnel became very ill after working with jet fuels and solvents on the F-111 programs and possibly help us to prevent it ever happening again” Mr Snowdon said.

The Study is a collaborative project between the Defence Centre for Occupational Health and Mater Medical Research Institute and will focus on the relationship between exposure to jet fuels and solvents in the F-111 Deseal/Reseal programs and mitochondrial genetic changes.

The research will be led by Professor Frank Bowling, a Metabolic Disease Consultant and Chemical Pathologist and a Professor of Medical Biochemistry.

Defence is seeking a range of volunteers for the Study:

Current or past members of the Air Force who participated in one of the recognised F-111 Deseal/Reseal programs, including “Pick and Patch”; Current or previous members of the Air Force who were NOT involved in the F-111 Deseal/ Reseal programs and have NOT had direct exposure to F-111 jet fuel; and First degree relatives (parent, sibling, child) of someone who participated in one of the F-111 Deseal/Reseal programs. “I would strongly encourage interested individuals to come forward and volunteer for this project.”

Persons who fit in one of these groups and are interested in participating in the Study are encouraged to contact the Defence Centre for Occupational Health on tel: (02) 6127 2080 or email JFES.Study@defence.gov.au to register their interest.

Editor’s note: Pictures of aircraft are available for media: http://111.125.172.46/fotoweb/Grid.fwx?archiveId=5000&position=1&search=1517

Media contacts:

Minister Snowdon: Alice Plate: 0400 045 999

Defence Media Operations: 02 6127 1999 or 0408 498 664