Stel Bailey's Push for South Patrick Shores Investigation and PFAS Cleanup in Washington DC

WASHINGTON, DC., - Stel Bailey, a Florida environmental justice advocate, went to Washington, D.C., to join community leaders and cast members of the documentary "The Devil We Know." Their goal was to inform Congress about the urgent need to tackle the nationwide drinking water crisis and the issue of PFAS contamination.

In over 100 meetings, individuals informed lawmakers about PFAS contamination and urged them to back unbiased efforts that protect communities nationwide. Many Congress members acknowledged the significance of tackling PFAS contamination and showed interest in developing policies not driven by political party affiliation.
The House Environment and Climate Change subcommittee organized meetings and a hearing focused on 13 policies related to PFAS contamination. One of these policies would make it mandatory for the EPA administrator to classify all PFAS chemicals as hazardous substances under Superfund. This would enable their cleanup using current authority.
Powerful testimony from Emily Marpe, a mother of three from New York whose drinking was contaminated with PFAS, helped make a case for regulation: “I lost myself, my kids lost their mom, and I was consumed with PFOA. I couldn’t research enough. I still attend meetings today; it is my job to protect my family. The safety and security of our home fell from under our feet.” 
Stel Bailey grew up in Brevard County, Florida, where three military bases used AFFF firefighting foam and discovered high levels of PFAS chemicals throughout the county's groundwater, drinking water, and soil. In 2013, her uncle, family dog, brother, father, and she were all diagnosed with cancer. In 2014, Bailey started collecting medical information from her neighbors, classmates, and nearby communities. 

Bailey established Fight for Zero, a nonprofit organization, and started conducting tests on canals, rivers, wells, and drinking water. The results showed the presence of harmful substances, including PFOA and PFOS. 

During Bailey's time in Washington, DC, she met with Congressman Posey. In the meeting, she emphasized protecting children from toxic exposures. She also discussed the research her team conducted, which involved mapping out cases of diseases. Further, Bailey shared the findings from their investigation of an environmental catastrophe unfolding in addition to PFAS contamination. This involved the construction of houses in South Patrick Shores on land suspected to be a previous landfill created by the military. Bailey's team metal detected yards and uncovered military waste ranging from rounds, plane parts, and Coca-Cola bottles.

Some states are taking the lead in protecting the public from dangerous chemicals like PFAS. They are banning the use of these chemicals in firefighting foam and consumer products like cookware. They are also setting limits to ensure that drinking water is safe. The federal government is also crucial in addressing this issue. The visit to Washington, D.C., emphasized the urgent need to address the problem of PFAS contamination as a critical public health concern.

Stel Bailey and Kristen Mellow from Westfield, Massachusetts 

Stel Bailey at Congressman Bill Posey's office in Washington D.C.

Bucky and Sue Bailey from the documentary The Devil We Know

Emily Donovan, Kristen Mellow, Rob Bilott, and Stel Bailey in Washington D.C.

Waiting to begin a long day of meetings with representatives 

Stel Bailey and DP Braden, who helped with mapping Satellite Beach, Florida cancer cases

 Emily Marpe testifying before congress

With Emily Marpe, after testifying before congress

On our flight home to Florida from Washington, D.C.

Stel Bailey

Stel Bailey, a cancer cluster survivor and environmental health advocate, is a researcher and journalist with more than two decades of multimedia experience, having been published globally.

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