U.S. Army and Air Force Veteran Testifies on Impact of PFAS at Patrick Air Force Base

March 11, 2020

Hearing on the Impact of PFAS on Service Members

U.S. Army and Air Force Veteran Mr. Jim Holmes testified in Washington DC today after losing his daughter, Kaela, to a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer. His daughter died three days after turning 17.

Her cancer could have had a connection to contaminated water in Florida at Patrick Air Force Base, where they had lived. The Department of Defense (DOD) report released in 2018 showed that all 28 on-base groundwater monitoring well samples at Patrick Air Force Base exceeded the 70 ppt EPA safety limit; combined PFOS/PFOA found at Patrick Air Force Base tested at 4.3 MILLION parts per trillion for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance, known as PFAS.

The PFAS contamination at Patrick Air Force base is attributed to the use of AFFF (aqueous film-forming foam) during training exercises for the past 40 years. In a public record request, it was found that Patrick Air Force Base was denying the DOD report showing PFAS contamination. Military installations across the United States are not raising awareness among service members or surrounding communities about the contamination or dangers of these chemicals. 

"I knew that I was signing a contract that required me to risk my physical health, mental health, personal safety, and up to my life in defense of the Nation. What I did not sign up for is the risk of my daughter's health, wellbeing, and ultimately her life as a result of my service," said Mr. Holmes.

Patrick Air Force Base is among the bases with the highest detection of PFAS found. In the cities surrounding the base, there are abnormally high rates of cancer. The state of Florida found a "statistically significant increase" in some cancer rates, but the Department of Health reports no "cancer cluster" in Brevard County. 

"I lost my only child due to being poisoned by the same military that I faithfully served and fought for. When I learned of the connection between PFAS and Kaela's cancer, I got rid of all my awards, certificates, and uniforms. The only thing I own with a military connection is my retried ID card. I will have to live the rest of my life, knowing that my decision to serve in the military and reside at the United States Air Force Base resulted in the death of my beautiful daughter. I pray that no other service member will ever have to unknowingly sacrifice the life of their child by serving their county," said Mr. Holmes in his testimony to Congress today.

Mr. Holmes hopes to get a $25 million pilot program funded by the government that would equip every home in Satellite Beach, Patrick Air Force Base, and Cocoa Beach with a point of entry filtration system. We hope it's called "The Kaela Project" in honor of his daughter.

Read: Mr. Jim Homes testimony before congress or watch the video at 1:31 below:

Fast forward to 1:31:27 for testimony

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