Protecting Children from Environmental Toxins in the Sunshine State

Children are Most at Risk of these Toxic Exposures

In the past, Florida's land was used as dumping grounds to bury trash and waste. Property used as dumps in the past is later turned into public parks or found by redevelopment projects. Your children may be playing on top of old dump sites. These sites have unsafe levels of contaminants. Legacy contaminants persist in the environment, bioaccumulate (build up in tissue), and settle into the soil. 

Legacy pollutants include heavy metals, lead, barium, arsenic, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and other contaminants. The Department of Defense has such toxic sites that they began a program called the Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) in 1994 to oversee cleanup projects. The space industry is also a part of the remediation program as they used to dump chemicals like TCE (trichloroethylene), a known carcinogen, into sandy soil.

Children are the most at risk of these toxic exposures because their body isn't able to break down the chemicals. Fifty-two superfund sites are being cleaned up in Florida, and for remediation not listed under the superfund list, you can find more in the Restoration Advisory Board minutes

215 hazardous locations in Florida with ties to Military operations

Eglin Air Force Base: The largest military installation in the Florida Panhadhade has 185 hazardous sites. The military spent $126 million in cleaning costs to date and needs another $37.9 million to complete the work by 2045.

Eglin Reservation was used by cattle herders in the late 1800s. To combat an outbreak of deadly cow ticks, the herders placed chemicals in a vat in the ground. The cows would walk through the chemicals, which would adhere to their hoofs and legs to help keep the ticks away.

More than 100 years later, the use of the chemical by cattle herders still presents a contamination issue. The base routinely inspects for toxic substances, and that base official worked for decades to mitigate any issues through a restoration program. 

Looking for any traces of chemical residues from past explosions or unexploded ordnance. According to the ProPublica report, more than 40,000 hazardous sites nationwide are polluted by military operations.

There are different solutions to these growing issues, like limiting pollution at its source, better laws to protect the environment, and establishing limits on pollution that protect health. We can also take action through our personal choices by looking for non-toxic solutions.

Recommended Reading:

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.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post

Contact Form