Residents and officials of an east-central Florida county are raising the alarm over a potential link between increased cases of cancer in young people and chemicals detected in the groundwater of a nearby Air Force base.
Chemicals, including perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and/or perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which are used to extinguish aircraft fires and known to cause cancer, were detected in groundwater at Florida’s Patrick Air Force Base and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, according to a U.S. Department of Defense report released in March.
The report noted that all 28 groundwater monitoring stations on Patrick Air Force Base tested positive for the chemicals.
The report also noted that no testing was conducted off the base located between Satellite and Cocoa beaches in Brevard County, where a cluster of cancer cases among people in their 20s and 30s has been reported.
The Brevard Times reported that after the March report, the Florida Department of Health launched an investigation into this cancer cluster and any connection between cases of Hodgkin’s lymphoma that were reported in a subdivision in the late 1960s and 1980s.
Earlier this week, officials with the Brevard County Public Schools said they would be testing drinking water at area schools for traces of the chemicals.
The announcement comes on the heels of the city’s announcement that it plans test the groundwater. Nearby Cocoa Beach, which treats sewage from Patrick Air Force Base, announced the same.
In addition to cancer, the chemicals are known to cause birth defects, liver damage, thyroid damage, increased uric acid levels, increased cholesterol and damage to the immune system, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
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