Katherine residents will not be receiving their blood test results until at least the middle of next year, the chief investigator for the Australian National University PFAS Health Study has confirmed.
Blood tests became available to those affected by the use of the toxic firefighting foam at RAAF Base Tindal in March of last year.
More than 600 residents have had their blood tested for PFAS, the most of any town in Australia.
The free and voluntary testing program was to end on April 30.
But in a move which may allow more tests to be collected, the Commonwealth Government has extended the end date.
Chief investigator for the Australian National University PFAS health study, Professor Martyn Kirk said the extension has been beneficial in other towns, such as Oakey and Williamtown, where testing uptake was much lower.
"It ensured who ever wanted it could get it," professor Kirk said.
While individuals have received their results, the professor said it would be "misleading" to draw conclusions without findings from a survey, which will be sent out soon.
The cross-sectional survey to investigate the exposure and risk factors of PFAS is the next step in the ANU PFAS Health Study.
"If we were to analyse [blood test] results but not take into account things like how long people had lived there, what they ate, if they drank bore water, we might come up with misleading results," he said.
"When people get the blood test there is a form and they have the option to consent to being included in the study.
"The actual results of the summary won't be given out until the middle of next year.
"It would be misleading to do otherwise."
The ANU team will be in Katherine next week to hold community consultations and provide updates on the PFAS Health Study.
To be held at Knotts Crossing Resort, the team will be providing a short presentation on the results of the focus groups.
"In most of the focus group discussions people had concerns about PFAS contamination of their families and children in particular, people had worries about illnesses and the onset of cancer, as well as how long they had been exposed for," professor Kirk said.
"Many people referred to feeling trapped in their communities.
"It was important for us to hear that and document that."
So far about 2000 people in Katherine, Oakey and Williamtown have agreed to participate in the survey, which will be mailed to residents soon.
The ANU team will be in Katherine to hold community consultations at Knotts Crossing Resort on May 16 at 1.30pm and 7pm.
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