World First Research Study on Jet Fuel and F‑111 Aircraft Fuel Tank Maintenance Workers

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. 

“I take very seri­ous­ly the need to ensure the ongo­ing health of the men and women of the Aus­tralian Defence Force. 

“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 to reg­is­ter their interest. 

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Australia 

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