Satellite Beach & South Patrick Shores Environmental Health Investigation

SATELLITE BEACH, FL. Stel Bailey, an internationally recognized advocate for environmental justice, developed a strong commitment to promoting the prevention and early detection of diseases after her family faced several cancer diagnoses in 2013. This personal experience sparked her unwavering resolve to increase awareness among families about the long-term risks of harmful environmental exposures. 

At the beginning of 2014, Bailey began a project gathering information about cancer and autoimmune diseases in Brevard County, the place where she grew up. Her goal was to involve the general public in this effort. Eventually, she partnered with an oncologist who attended Satellite Beach High School and had been diagnosed with cancer. Together, they were able to obtain the Brevard Cancer Assessment, which showed an increase in cancer cases in the area.

In addition to her involvement in Satellite Beach, Bailey established Fight For Zero, a well-respected non-profit organization that concentrates on initiatives related to environmental health. She then expanded her work nationally, serving as a co-facilitator to empower advocates and communities by providing essential resources and information, enabling them to effectively address concerns related to water quality and challenging federal policies that aren't protective of human health. 

After the 2018 Department of Defense drinking water report was published, Fight For Zero prioritized community engagement, information dissemination, identification of disease patterns, autonomous testing, collaboration with academic institutions and specialists, involvement in educational sessions, creation of materials, and instruction of state authorities on the dangers associated with PFAS chemicals.

The nonprofit investigation discovered that pollution occurred not just in the vicinity of Patrick Air Force Base but also in Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and the Kennedy Space Center. Specific actions from the 1960s onwards resulted in the pollution of groundwater, soil, air, and drinking water. Additionally, there were worries regarding the elevated prevalence of health issues such as ALS, childhood brain cancer, and blood cancer and the alarming rates of suicide among young individuals.

Environmental health concerns can only be fully resolved through testing, partnership, and expert assistance. Fight For Zero is dedicated to assessing these problems scientifically, cooperating with leaders and experts, informing the affected communities, and proposing solutions. Success entails teaming with organizations, elected state officials, and government bodies such as the EPA, FDEP, the Department of Health, and numerous others.

1. During the 1990s, a total of 40 instances of Hodgkin's lymphoma and other rare forms of cancer were reported among individuals who graduated from Satellite High School.

Archived Newspaper

2. The health department determined a “virus caused the cancers.”

Archived Newspaper

3. Using independent crowdsourcing methods, advocates managed to gather close to 800 instances of cancer over a period of three decades, encompassing the area from South Patrick Shores to Satellite Beach.

Cancer Cluster mapping for Fight For Zero, Inc. prepared by DP GeoTech

4. In 2018, Fight For Zero advocates discovered a Department of Defense (DoD) report indicating that the on-base wells contained 4.3 million parts per trillion (ppt) of PFAS chemicals. This amount far exceeds the safety limit set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which stands at 70 ppt. It is important to note that these chemicals specifically originate from firefighting foam.

2018 DoD Report

In early 2018, cancer advocates urged elected officials to conduct thorough testing for PFAS. As a result of testing conducted by the county and local city authorities, it was revealed that shallow well water in Satellite Beach contained PFAS chemicals, also known as "forever" chemicals, as well as increased levels of strontium. Furthermore, the presence of PFOA and PFOS chemicals was throughout Brevard County.

PFBA was detected in the Melbourne drinking water supply, and other PFAS contaminants have been detected in Titusville and Palm Bay's drinking water.

There is a proposal for federal funding to provide every home in Satellite Beach and Cocoa Beach with water filters

13 beachside schools showed PFBA in school drinking water, a chemical in the PFAS family.

Test Results

South Patrick Shores was built on top of a military dump, and advocates successfully got a FUDS preliminary assessment which can be found here:

Photo by Fight For Zero, Inc

There were five unlined landfills on the base at one time and a trench that went from a landfill on the base and ended at the high school.

The main cause of pollution appears to be from the period between the 1970s and 1990s when harmful substances like pesticides were extensively used in the region, and various toxins were thrown into the water.

Archived Newspaper

There is a committee called the Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) that gets together every three months to discuss the cleanup efforts at PAFB, CCAFS, and NASA.

Click Here to view RAB Minutes

If you serve in the military, we recommend purchasing a portable water filtration system, as numerous military installations are known to have problems with water pollution."

Over a period of time, the accumulation of toxic substances in the body leads to health consequences. Consequently, children are more susceptible to various illnesses due to their higher chances of exposure to pollutants in drinking water.

Fight For Zero Posts:
South Patrick Shores Historical Documents:
PFAS Bills in Florida:
  • HB 1427 / SB 1720: Requires the state to develop Maximum Contaminant Levels for PFAS and other chemicals in drinking water.
  • HB 5001: Appropriates $1 million to assist homeowners with private well water contaminated with PFOA and/or PFOA.
Other Documents:

Fight for Zero

Our team brings passion and drive to take on environmental health challenges. Our mission is to inform, educate, share resources, and inspire action to protect natural resources.

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