PFAS CHEMICALS WERE DETECTED IN BREVARD COUNTY AT THE THIRD HIGHEST LEVEL IN THE NATION
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What are PFAS Chemicals?
PFAS chemicals are known as “forever chemicals,” a family of potentially thousands of synthetic chemicals that are extremely persistent in the environment and in our bodies. PFAS is short for perfluoroalky and polyfluoroalkyl substances and includes chemicals known as PFOS, PFOA, and GenX.
Why are we concerned?
A growing body of science has found that there are potential adverse health impacts associated with PFAS exposure, including liver damage, thyroid disease, decreased fertility, high cholesterol, obesity, hormone suppression, and cancer. These chemicals can easily migrate into the air, dust, food, soil, and water.
Flooding is Likely to Impact People's Health and Exposure to Chemicals like PFAS
Coastal communities deal with intense storm surges, sea-level rise, and inland flooding. During hurricanes and extreme weather events, sediment can be carried and deposited downstream in residential neighborhoods and parks. Flooding carries hazardous pollutants and can transport harmful chemicals like PFAS further inland and contaminate the soil.
These events can increase your risk of exposure to contaminants that harm health, such as heavy metals, pesticides, and PFAS, by spreading with floodwaters.
Flooding also intensifies infrastructure issues causing "boil" notices, contamination of drinking water sources, and failure of sewage systems, forcing wastewater treatment facilities to discharge material into surrounding water bodies. The risk of exposure is great when industrial or agricultural land is next to residential land. It is vital to assess the risk to communities at the fenceline of polluting facilities and for state agencies to protect them from harm.
The Fight For Zero team will be taking samples from the Indian River Lagoon and Banana River before and immediately after a flooding event so that scientists can see what PFAS is in the environment and at what concentration levels in water and soil.
Coastal PFAS Research Project In the News
The Gainsville Sun: UF Scientist to lead PFAS Study
A Community Partnership
Fight For Zero partnered with researchers in a 3-year study in Brevard County on PFAS chemicals and other contaminants to help build resilience to environmental contamination in the face of flooding and hurricane risks. The team consists of environmental health and environmental engineering experts from the University of Florida (UF) and members of the community.
We hope to help build resiliency for the coastal communities across the nation," said Stel Bailey, executive director of Fight for Zero. "We will also be partnering with organizations like ORCA to collect fish tissue and samples of other suspected contamination. A part of this project will be training citizen scientists to get involved in helping us and giving feedback. We are excited to lead this project's community engagement and citizen science portion."
In early 2018, Fight for Zero members met with Satellite Beach and South Patrick Shores cancer patients, survivors, and their families after the military released a report showing that Patrick Space Force Base had cancer-causing chemicals known as "PFAS" in groundwater.
The organization began in-depth research on the environmental issues in Brevard County and learned of health cluster investigations throughout the years. There were ALS, childhood cancer, and rare disease concerns. Fight For Zero has been the leading voice in Florida when it comes to PFAS contamination.
As a local advocacy group working alongside national and regional allies, we have made a significant impact as a team coming together to protect lives through education and science. We work to ensure our environment and coastal communities in Florida are not overlooked.
Building Resilience to PFAS Exposure on Vulnerable Coastal Communities Prone to Extreme Weather Floods: Brevard County, Florida as a Case Study
Our grassroots group collects samples from around the county to help UF researchers learn more about how these chemicals can spread from their original locations. We work to build community engagement, educate, support UF in their research, and give these communities the tools needed to take on these challenges. This study will help us better understand PFAS contamination health risks and prevent exposures. Meet the faculty team:
UF Research Documents
Assessment of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the Indian River Lagoon and Atlantic coast of Brevard County, FL, reveals distinct spatial clusters: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0045653522009717
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in plasma of the West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus): https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0025326X19300992
Perfluorinated alkyl acids and fecundity assessment in striped mullt at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S004896971733200X?via%3Dihub
Variation in perfluoroalkyl acids in the American alligator at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0045653516312899?via%3Dihub
Ticks as novel sentinels to monitor environmental levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS): https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2021/EM/D1EM00209K
A rapid and simple method to quantify per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in plasma and serum using 96-well plates: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2215016120303319?via%3Dihub
Metabolic profiling in human SHSY5Y neuronal cells exposed to perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA): https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0161813X21000541?via%3Dihub
Using Regulatory Classifications to Assess the Impact of Different Land Use Types of PEr- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substance Concentrations in Stormwater Pond Sediments: https://ascelibrary.org/doi/10.1061/%28ASCE%29EE.1943-7870.0001906
The last straw: Characterization of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in commercially available plant-based drinking straws: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0045653521007074?via%3Dihub
Evaluation of extraction workflows for quantitative analysis of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances: A case study using soil adjacent to a landfill: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0048969720374751?via%3Dihub
Associations between perfluorinated alkyl acids in blood and ovarian follicular fluid and ovarian function in women undergoing assisted reproductive treatment: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0048969717315413?via%3Dihub
Per - and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in sediments collected from Pensacola Bay System watershed: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2666765721000594?via%3Dihub
Become a Citizen Scientist
Are you ready to help make a difference for future generations by collecting scientific data through water, soil, and air sampling? We are building teams of citizen scientists in each city of Brevard County to collect samples and share those results with your communities.
Brevard County residents can become a part of this project and put on an exclusive email by signing up as a citizen scientist. You will gain access to our grassroots virtual meetings and training videos to learn how to take the samples. The testing kits and materials are provided along with an online workshop to discuss details and teach communities how to take samples. If you would like to help us collect water around your community submit your name, city, phone, and email.
$80 Water Test Kit PFAS
Cyclopure has offered a 25% discount on PFAS analysis of drinking water using their kit.
It is very easy. You buy the kit online, they ship the kit to you, you run your water through the cup, ship back, and they send the results directly to you. They will test your water for perfluorinated PFAS chemicals, including PFOA, PFOS, GenX, and 13 additional contaminants.
Cyclopure discount code: FLA2021
Note: If you decide to test your water with Cyclopure, they will also send your drinking water data to the research team (anonymized), and the data will be included within the scope of this project.
Several companies make in-house PFAS testing kits. We are not endorsing Cyclopure. They are offering a discount because the team collaborates with them on other projects.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will you test our soil or water? Our testing locations are carefully chosen using data, science, and with the scope of this study in mind. We do not have the funding to assist in additional environmental testing at this time. Other testing projects done by Fight For Zero are done to collect comprehensive data. If you are searching for information on testing, please visit https://www.fight4zero.org/testingwater
How do I become a Fight For Zero citizen scientist? Use our sign-up form to add your name to the list. For this project, our teams commit to three months to collect surface water samples from locations across Brevard. This project does change with time as we narrow down areas and begin our storm season sampling. Also, it's important to note that we have over 100 volunteers signed up with a waitlist, but scientists are always reaching out to our team searching for volunteers on other projects, so please sign up!
What should I expect when becoming a Fight For Zero citizen scientist? As a team member, you will sign a three-month commitment and receive all needed equipment, such as sampling bottles, gloves, grabbers, coolers, meters, and educational materials. You will also get limited Fight For Zero swag, be put into a citizen scientist chat, and automatically become a Fight For Zero grassroots member with the opportunity to become a leader.
Do you have other volunteer opportunities? We have numerous other volunteer opportunities from blog writing, tech work, social media moderation, and grant writing. Additionally, our academic partners regularly do projects and reach out for volunteers.
How much money does Fight For Zero receive for this project? This project is funded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) through a grant. Fight For Zero is a sub-recipient working as community partners assisting in engagement and citizen science. Fight For Zero receives $5,000 in total a year to cover our costs by reimbursement. Our costs are paid out of pocket, and we get reimbursed after submitting receipts and hours worked. 100% of our hours worked are donated to the nonprofit by the Executive Director and Vice President to continue covering expenses and additional testing kits for the community. You can view our financials at https://www.fight4zero.org/financials