top of page


Studying toxic chemicals in Indian River Lagoon

Researchers studying presence of potentially toxic forever chemicals in the Indian River Lagoon

Brevard Cancer Cluster.png

Brevard cancer cluster study find ample contamination

Forever in Florida - The chemical family known as PFAS in Florida

An Investigation on accelerated illnesses in central Florida communities, tracing the source to phosphate mining.

Citizen scientist Stel Bailey and her group, Fight 4 Zero, which was founded by cancer survivors like herself, has been helping UF researchers by collecting surface water and soil samples along the lagoon.

“Knowledge is power,” Bailey said. “If we can give people the information, they can take steps to lessen their exposure to these chemicals.”

Researchers hope to better understand the distribution of PFAS in the environment, and if floods and storm events play a significant role in the transport of the chemicals.

The goal of the study is to identify areas with soil and water contamination. The types of poisons being focused on in the study are man-made, believed to have been used near and around Patrick Air Force Base, now named Patrick Space Force Base.


Bailey’s organization, Fight for Zero, updates residents with the research it is conducting alongside UF. Taking thousands of samples across Florida, researchers said their next step is to determine which levels of the poisons are safe for human exposure.

The chemical family known as PFAS, ubiquitous in everything from waterproof fabrics to nonstick cookware, is also becoming common in water, soil, land—and our bodies. While these “Forever Chemicals” are linked to serious adverse human health outcomes including cancer, neither the federal government nor Florida has regulated them closely. A mini-documentary from Kimberley Fowler and Amy Fu. -- News from North Central Florida's public media stations on , 89.1 FM & Florida's 5.

Follow WUFT News for more updates: 

Cancer survivor and filmmaker Erik E. Crown joins local water activists to investigate accelerated cancer rates and other illnesses in central Florida communities, tracing the source to phosphate mining and the pollution of the state’s waterways by a multinational corporation, Mosaic. This investigation uncovers why corporate pollution continues today and why people in communities worldwide face the same issues as those in Florida. It begs the question – what’s in your water?

Titusville drinking water.png

Fight For Zero warns of chemicals in drinking water

 According to Fight For Zero (FFZ), a nonprofit organization founded by cancer survivors, independent water testing results show "forever chemicals," known as PFAS, detected in three of five public drinking water fountains in Brevard County.

These concerns began to surface in the summer of 2018 when 13 county beachside schools detected PFBA in the drinking water. It was again brought up during a town hall meeting in July 2019 with the city of Melbourne and Representative Randy Fine.

Screen Shot 2022-02-20 at 9.21.29 PM.png

Cancer survivors ask leaders for more testing of contaminated water

Advocate Stel Bailey took that message Tuesday night to Melbourne City Hall.

"We have 54 students at Satellite High diagnosed with cancer," Bailey addressed city council members.

Nine beach side schools, including Satellite High, tested positive for traces of chemicals also found at Patrick Air Force Base.

Screen Shot 2022-02-20 at 9.28.37 PM.png

What's next after Erin Brockovich comes to town?

Over many months, Bailey and Willemin covered their map with 328 dots for 328 cancer cases in Satellite Beach since 2000. Survivors volunteered their diagnoses online, with new cases trickling in daily. Early drafts of the map showed cancers clustered in two distinct "blobs" just south of Patrick Air Force Base.

"I started having a lot of people coming forward. I just knew in my gut, 'I'm on to something here,' " said Bailey, a cancer survivor who grew up just north of the base in Cocoa Beach. 

Screen Shot 2022-02-20 at 10.01.45 PM.png

Bayshore High Alumni Cry Foul on "Cancer Cluster" Study Results

“If they’re not looking for a cancer cluster, they’re not going to find one,” said alumni Cheryl Jozsa.

“They eliminated the classes where we had the most concentrated information,” Jozsa said, referencing the years around when her sister graduated. “By eliminating that data it allowed them to get the results that they wanted and be able to say that there’s no cancer cluster.”

Chase Dubitsky in Satellite Beach Florida collecting pfas .png

University of Florida reveals 1st findings of ‘forever chemical’ study in Brevard County

The study, which is focused on Brevard County, is trying to determine whether the existence of PFAS in the ground water, surface water and soil exceeds the level advised by the Environmental Protection Agency and whether there’s an overlap of high areas of concern regarding PFAS concentration/exposure and communities at high risk of health complications because of their age.

Groups like Fight For Zero in Brevard County have been collecting weekly samples from around the county to help UF researchers learn more about how these chemicals can spread from their original locations.

Fight For Zero Brevard.png
Stel Bailey on Brockovich.png
Cocoa Beach Florida.png

Brevard County the Focus of a UF Study on Contaminants, Flooding

The Fight For Zero on the Brockovich Report

Wells test positive for chemicals in Cocoa Beach

For Fight For Zero non-profit founder Stel Bailey, it was no coincidence that several family members got a rare form of cancer. Now she's dedicated to fighting for zero contaminates in the water, soil, and air.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is giving $800,000 to the University of Florida to research how environmental factors, like flooding during hurricanes, potentially increase risk of human exposure to water contaminants, and aso how those contaminants travels through these environments. 

Today, we’re introducing you to Stel Bailey, the chief executive director of Fight For Zero, a co-facilitator of the National PFAS Contamination Coalition, and a recognized environmental health advocate who has worked as an assistant environmentalist collecting samples and gathering critical data. 

I was lucky enough to meet Stel, Dr. Julie Clift Greenwalt, and many others in 2018 at a town hall meeting in Satellite Beach, Florida, to discuss the water quality.

Stel Baily says she’s won the battle against cancer, but is now fighting the war against cancer-causing chemicals. This used to be Stel Bailey’s reality. A cancer survivor, Bailey is one of five in her family who, in the same year, were all diagnosed with cancer. 

“Every doctor that I talked to, the first thing that they said was where did you grow up?” said Bailey, who lives in Cocoa Beach. 

Screen Shot 2022-02-20 at 9.24.48 PM.png

Erin Brockovich associate vows to help find cancer answers

Screen Shot 2022-02-20 at 9.26.08 PM.png
Screen Shot 2022-02-20 at 9.27.21 PM.png

Cancer fears remain as water testing continues in Brevard County

Citizens question if Satellite Beach violated Florida's open meeting laws

Stel Bailey, a Brevard County resident, cancer survivor and advocate, expressed disappointment that she and about a dozen others who tried to attend Monday's meeting were stopped at the door. She coordinated independent testing for the fluorinated chemicals in canals and residences in the Satellite Beach area, results she'd planned to present Monday.

"I am optimistic that we are going to get to the truth," cancer survivor Stel Bailey said. "I believe that we are the only people that can save ourselves."

The testing has centered around cancer-causing fluorinated chemicals that have been used in firefighting foams. Nearby Patrick Air Force base used the chemicals for decades.

A group of cancer survivors and concerned citizens were not allowed to attend Monday's gathering at City Hall about possibly contaminated water and beachside cancer cases. The meeting was called for by environmental activist Erin Brockovich's coworker Bob Bowcock who visited Monday and Tuesday to investigate.

Screen Shot 2022-02-20 at 9.45.48 PM.png

Environmental activist Erin Brockovich speaks to concerned Satellite Beach crowd

Stel Bailey, a local cancer survivor and activist says, it was a community effort to get Brockovich to the area and with her help, they will know what to do next. 

“Known this was bigger than satellite beach, we need to see how far this goes,” says Bailey. 

On Friday, Cocoa Beach reporter they found the cancer causing chemicals PFOA and PFOS's in their water. 

Screen Shot 2022-02-20 at 9.49.21 PM.png
Screen Shot 2022-02-20 at 9.56.33 PM.png

More cancer cases reported in Satellite Beach

Bayshore Cancer Cluster Health Study Released

 Some are still fighting to get results for a growing number of people being diagnosed with cancer around the Satellite Beach area.

"I think it stands with unanswered questions, still," Stel Bailey, with the activist group Florida Health Connection, said.

An advocate for the survivors, Bailey, herself, battled cancer.

Cheryl Jozsa’s sister attended Bayshore High School, and was one of three graduating students from the class of 1979 to pass away from leukemia, out of a class of 256 students, Jozsa says. Jozsa’s sister passed in 1999; another student from her class that year who had leukemia survived. She cofounded Fight For Zero, a nonprofit activist group that raises awareness about water quality issues.

Screen Shot 2022-02-20 at 9.54.36 PM.png

Environmental activist Erin Brockovich speaks to concerned Satellite Beach crowd

Screen Shot 2022-02-20 at 10.06.24 PM.png
Screen Shot 2022-02-20 at 10.08.19 PM.png

Manatee Deaths Prompt Action

Colder temperatures keeping manatees away

Stel Bailey of environmental non-profit Fight For Zero said she’s watched people feed manatees lettuce, spinach and kale. Wildlife authorities are experimenting with feeding manatees but said it’s only a short-term solution.

‘’The community is at a point of desperation because they just want to help,’’ Bailey said. ‘’They’re sick of standing by and seeing these manatees die in their own backyard.’’

Stel Bailey of environmental non-profit Fight For Zero said she’s watched people feed manatees lettuce, spinach and kale. Wildlife authorities are experimenting with feeding manatees but said it’s only a short-term solution.

‘’The community is at a point of desperation because they just want to help,’’ Bailey said. ‘’They’re sick of standing by and seeing these manatees die in their own backyard.’’

"I really believe that we have become numb to this. I think that it is being normalized that now dead manatees have become a part of our daily life. People feel like they can’t do anything anyway. So, it is a discussion, but we need to take action," environmentalist Stel Bailey said. "It is devastating for me to see these manatees in the situation that they are in."

Christel Stel Bailey in Brevard County Florida.png

EPA issues new advisory on ‘forever chemicals’ in drinking water

Stel Bailey, an advocate for clean drinking water in Brevard County and the founder of Fight for Zero, was one of dozens of people present at the Third National PFAS Conference in Wilmington, N.C., when the EPA made its announcement. 


“In the beginning of this, we were criticized and dismissed and told things were safe and normal and nobody really wanted to listen to us,” Bailey said. “So, to get that confirmation that all of this work wasn’t nothing, it brings hope to communities, like ours, and advocates across the nation that we need to continue in this work to fight for zero chemicals in our waterways that are harmful to human health.”

A big thanks to the media outlets who have covered our work! 

the guardian.jpg
Brockovich Report.jpg
Channel 9 florida.jpg
FFZ DARK 2.png