An eight-year-old boy sustained chemical burns after playing with firefighting foam in a drain at Bundamba.
An eight-year-old boy sustained chemical burns after playing with firefighting foam in a drain at Bundamba.

GRAPHIC: Mum's anger at son's chemical foam burns

A MOTHER complained to Ipswich City Council and Queensland Fire and Rescue Service after claiming her young son received chemical burns as a result of playing with firefighting foam that had washed into a public drain.

The woman, who asked not to be named, said her son was walking home from school on May 1 when he noticed the foam in a stormwater drain outside Bundamba Fire Station, on Brisbane Rd.

Thinking it was just some harmless bubbles, the boy started playing in the foam and applying it to his face to make a beard. It wasn't until later that he realised it was burning his skin.

"The skin started to blister all over his body. We had to take him to Queensland Children's Hospital," the concerned mum said.

 

An eight-year-old boy sustained chemical burns after playing with firefighting foam in a drain at Bundamba.
FLARE UP: An eight-year-old boy sustained chemical burns after playing with firefighting foam in a drain at Bundamba.

"He is a very sensory child and likes to smell and touch things and he is sensitive but still, this is unacceptable.

"He was in a lot of pain and while we were at hospital and his face just started getting bigger and bigger."

Government departments charged with investigating the matter found there was no harmful release of chemicals into the environment, however, the fire service was issued with an improvement notice as a result of the incident.

 

An eight-year-old Ipswich boy suffered chemical burns after playing with firefighting foam at Bundamba.
An eight-year-old Ipswich boy suffered chemical burns after playing with firefighting foam at Bundamba.

The investigation found the firefighting foam did not contain the potentially harmful PFAS chemical.

A spokesperson from the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services told the Queensland Times the matter had been investigated and also referred to Workplace Health and Safety.

"Workplace Health and Safety Queensland issued QFES with an Improvement Notice, which QFES has complied with," the spokesperson said.

"QFES remains in contact with the member of the public. QFES will continue to take all actions necessary to ensure the safety of staff and volunteers, and members of the public, during its operational activities."

The Department of Environment and Science and Ipswich City Council confirmed they had received and acted on a complaint. An Ipswich City Council spokesman said the matter was outside their jurisdiction and they referred it to the relevant departments.

A Department of Environment and Science spokesperson said subsequent investigations ruled out any environmental impact.

"The investigation confirmed the firefighting foam was contained on site and there was no release into the environment," the spokesperson said.

"The firefighting foam did not contain per or poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), and was 'low risk' in terms of environmental or community impact."

A Workplace Health and Safety Queensland spokesperson said the office was notified of the incident on May 10.

"Inspectors attended the scene and issued an improvement notice to the Bundamba Fire Station. Enquiries are continuing," they said.