Brevard cancer cluster study finds ample contamination

Goal of study is to identify areas with soil, water contamination

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – An update was given Thursday regarding a study being assisted by the University of Florida.

The goal of the study is to identify areas with soil and water contamination. The types of poisons being focused on in the study are man-made, believed to have been used near and around Patrick Air Force Base, now named Patrick Space Force Base.

Stel Bailey said back in 2013, at the age of 26, she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

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“Our uncle who is not blood-related was diagnosed with cancer. Then a few months later, our family dog got cancer. Then, my brother at the age of 21 got cancer. Then I was diagnosed with cancer. Then my father got diagnosed with cancer,” Bailey said.

Bailey’s organization, Fight for Zero, updates residents with the research it is conducting alongside UF. Taking thousands of samples across Florida, researchers said their next step is to determine which levels of the poisons are safe for human exposure.

“We learned about these chemicals that were known as forever chemicals, and realized that for our children and future generations, we needed to step up and embrace the science and to be able to get these chemicals cleaned up and knowing where they are at,” Bailey said.

Researching said tracking storm run-off into the Indian River Lagoon will help identify which areas have contaminated soil. The study is also conducting surveys for people who fish in the lagoon and consume what they catch.

Bailey said a key goal moving forward is to provide the U.S. Department of Defense and chemical manufacturers a safety threshold, in order for the chemicals to be removed.

“A win for us is the community realizing they have the power to make a change. Whether that change is getting a filtration system for their drinking water. Whether that change is going in and getting health checkups,” Bailey said.

About the Author:

Troy graduated from California State University Northridge with a Bachelor's Degree in Communication. He has reported on Mexican drug cartel violence on the El Paso/ Juarez border, nuclear testing facilities at the Idaho National Laboratory and severe Winter weather in Michigan.