Published: August 22, 2018

    Florida Officials Researching Possible Cancer Link in Brevard County Groundwater Contamination

    Residents of Brevard County in Florida have become incredibly concerned about a possible link between rising cancer rates in young people around the area and the discovery of dangerous contaminants in local drinking water.

    In March the U.S. Department of Defense released a report that revealed multiple cancer-causing chemicals were found in the groundwater at the Patrick Air Force Base and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The chemicals in question are perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), chemicals that are commonly used to extinguish aircraft fires.

    According to the report released in March every single one of the 28 groundwater monitoring stations tested positive for these chemicals. However, no testing was done off the base, particularly in Brevard County between Cocoa and Satellite beaches.

    This omission has many residents up in arms, as a bizarre concentration of cancer cases in young people has been reported in this area near the Air Force Base. Approximately 20 Satellite High School alumni who graduated only a few years apart have contracted cancer at a young age, several of whom have passed away.

    One of the most prominent survivors is Dr. Julie Greenwalt, a radiation oncologist who graduated from Satellite High School along with others who have since contracted cancer. Dr. Greenwalt has been vocally raising concerns about the concentrated nature of these cancer cases, and has called on federal health officials to investigate and remedy this increasingly dire situation.

    In an interview with Florida Today, Dr. Greenwalt noted that her and her peers would play in the sprinklers on the school’s playing fields, all of which used groundwater. “We would drink the sprinkler water,” Greenwalt stated, seemingly furthering the connection between the chemical contamination of the local water supply and the effects it had on school children in the area.

    Once the report from the Department of Defense was released the Brevard Times launched an official investigation to determine if this cancer cluster is related to a widespread increase in cases of Hodgkin’s lymphoma that occurred in a nearby subdivision in the late 1960s and 1980s.

    Officials at the Brevard County Public Schools also announced that they would conduct water testing on the water at local schools to locate traces of PFOS and PFOA. The Environmental Protection Agency warns that long-term exposure to PFOS and PFOA can increase your likelihood of developing cancer, suffering kidney problems, or having development issues.

    Young children are particularly vulnerable to the health problems the chemicals pose. “As the mother of two beachside students, and a person who grew up in Satellite Beach and was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2010, I have many of the same questions and concerns as our community,” noted school board member Tina Descovich. “I pray our drinking water is not affected in any way.”

    When you live in a state like Florida that has a long history of water quality problems you must take extra precautions to keep your water as pure and safe as possible. Consider scheduling an in-home service appointment to consult with one of our professionals, who will check your existing water quality and work with you to find the best filtration system to provide the water quality solutions you need.