Important work done by Fight For Zero

As a local advocacy group working alongside national and regional allies, we have made a significant impact as a team coming together to save lives. Fight For Zero Executive Director, Stel Bailey, is the leader and co-facilitator of the National PFAS Contamination Coalition have been invited as a community liaison for national agencies, and works alongside other organizations. We are a community-based organization working to ensure our environment in Florida is not overlooked.

  • $20 million through the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for a national multi-site health study of PFAS.

  • $500 million for cleanup of DOD sites through the 2022 NDAA and $168 million in 2021

  • Passed TRI reporting and suing the EPA in federal court to force the agency to close illegal loopholes that let chemical plants and military bases across the United States avoid disclosing their PFAS emissions into the environment during manufacturing or use of these cancer-causing chemicals.

  • $10 billion for PFAS Communities in the Infrastructure package

  • Released the disclosure of hidden documents on PFAS chemicals admitting they were significantly more toxic than previously portrayed

  • Influenced health information through getting National Academy of Sciences town halls across the country

  • Worked with ATSDR for chronic stress training guidance

  • Met with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Defense (DoD), ATSDR, CDC, and white house staff on PFAS contamination. 

  • Earned a "seat at the table" in the first EPA summit on PFAS and organized to drive the agenda at local EPA summits on PFAS across the country

  • Got 29 more PFAS that will be tested in the UCMR5.

  • Releases of two national plans to address PFAS contamination

  • Six introduced PFAS bills in 2022 Florida legislation

  • Featured in Forever in Florida by a documentary by WUFT

  • Featured in Phosfate the movie about phosphate mining in Florida 

  • Invited to film in a documentary in 2022 called Cancer Alley 

  • Partnered with the University of Florida (UF) on a three-year PFAS study in Brevard County, Florida 

  • Participated in various national calls, sign-on letters, campaigns, and collaborations with other organizations.

  • We learned how to dissect fish with ORCA and continue to help with that project.

  • We released an interactive pollution map and are working on disease maps.

  • helping collect data from waterways, drinking water, and soil in Brevard County.
  • We officially formalized Fight For Zero in 2018 with a website, successful blog, leadership team, citizen science team, and grassroots team and grew to nearly 42,000 subscribers!

  • We've held numerous community meetings, conference calls, and informational webinars.

  • We wrote government officials and the school board members about the Formerly Used Defense Site (FUD) next to Patrick Space Force Base and had over 5,000 views a month on the FUDS articles we published. We also met with families living on the dumpsite to discuss their concerns and continue to monitor the progress of the Army Corps investigation of contamination and vapor intrusion after spending weeks knocking on doors in early 2018.

  • We launched our mailer newsletters on top of our email updates and have more campaigns being prepared for 2022.

  • We spent six months documenting sewage spills, harmful algae blooms, and manatee deaths which helped get the Unusual Mortality Event (UME) established alongside local advocates such as Edgewater Environmental Alliance and Bear Warriors United.

  • We organized a statewide Demand for Clean Water walk and numerous other demonstrations.

  • Our communities efforts were published on the Erin Brockovich Report.

  • We organized pass-around DVDs of Dark Waters, The Devil We Know, No Defense, and Phosfate.

  • We toured wastewater treatment plants in Brevard County.

  • We had a super cool ornament designed with a manatee and fish by the Christmas Shoppe in Titusville.

  • West Coast Director, Cheryl, is working with a Biostatisican expert on the Bayshore High School cases looking at how the Department of Health does their cancer cluster investigations.

  • Pinellas Director, Emerald Cromwell, found out her cancer came back and is currently going through surgeries and kicking cancer to the curve.

  • We did preliminary testing in St. Cloud, Polk County, Tampa, and Central Florida and connected with testing companies helping us with discounted kits.

  • We began writing articles and summaries of our investigations into different polluters, bone valley, how the Department of Health's health studies differ, and more. Those will be published as they are finalized.

  • We created medical screening guidance used by several people dealing with health issues. After sharing with their doctors, they got the necessary screening, and some caught their disease early!

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Brevard County Health Investigation

Starting in 2014, we began in-depth research on the environmental issues in Brevard County and learned of several health cluster investigations in the county. There were ALS cluster concerns at Kennedy Space Center and South Patrick Shores and cancer cluster investigations in Port St. John, South Patrick Shores, and Palm Bay.

In 2018, a Department of Defense report showed PFAS contamination at several active installations in Brevard County including NASA. We hosted a total of seven community town hall meetings that year, one with Erin Brockovich, regarding water quality and health concerns. 

We successfully got a state health assessment in 2019 that showed a statistically significant higher rate of cancer in two zip codes in Brevard County. We continue to raise awareness of PFAS contamination and share education on the health effects of exposure to these chemicals.

South Patrick Shores Investigation

At the beginning of 2018, Fight for Zero spent three weeks going door-to-door, investigating independent research using historical documents indicating that homes in the South Patrick Shores community were built on a landfill. After documenting military debris at several homes, we did mapping and began reaching out to residents to do metal detecting in their yards and see more debris.

Our volunteers' dedicated work brought awareness to a decades-long issue, which helped push for a Formerly Used Defense Site (FUDS) investigation in South Patrick Shores. 
 
Fight For Zero was honored as the story of the year and featured on the front cover of the December 2018 Florida Today issue. We spent a substantial amount of time building a grassroots movement, doing community outreach, and bringing awareness to the debris buried underneath South Patrick Shores' homes. 

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School Water Quality Survey Project

We did an independent project that included submitting public record requests to 67 school districts and 42 colleges as a statewide survey to see what schools in Florida were testing their drinking water. The project took six months to complete and brought awareness to the districts taking preventative steps to ensure children were drinking safe water. 

Fight For Zero carefully organized the project using spreadsheets, creating a professional email made explicitly for the requests and connecting with a public records expert who helped us through obstacles. 

We learned that some counties hadn't tested their drinking water in decades, and a few schools were taking preventative steps to ensure kids were not drinking lead-tainted water. To read more about the project visit: 2019 School Water Quality Survey



 

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Bayshore High Cancer Investigation

Fight For Zero Director Cheryl Jozsa pushed the Department of Health in Manatee County to launch a cancer study after learning that over 500 Bayshore High School graduates were diagnosed with rare diseases at young ages. Among the alumni was Cheryl's sister, Terri, a 1979 graduate of Bayshore High School. 

 

Experts determined that a former machine parts manufacturing company, Riverside Products, was a potential contributor of toxins to Bayshore High School's area. A Florida Department of Environmental Protection Memo dated 1995 regarding the property stated, "Sufficient data exist which clearly indicate that contamination from the site is threatening public health and the environment." To date, the former Riverside Products property still has not been given the status as fully remediated. 



 

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Fight For Zero PFAS Fountain Project

The PFAS Fountain Project aimed to collect data and learn if public drinking water sources were contaminated with PFAS chemicals. We tested drinking water fountains across Brevard County for 45 PFAS compounds. PFAS do not easily break down in the environment and are linked to debilitating health issues. 

The chemicals were detected at Sandpoint Park in Titusville, Howard E. Futch Memorial Park in Melbourne, and Turkey Creek Sanctuary in Palm Bay. The highest result came from Turkey Creek Sanctuary in the City of Palm Bay, with PFOA testing at 8.9 parts per trillion and PFOS at 7.3 parts per trillion. There were also six short-chain chemicals detected.

Fight For Zero urges residents to use filtration systems that remove harmful contaminants from their drinking water and for cities to publicize their drinking water results not shared in the annual drinking water quality reports. To review the testing visit: Brevard County PFAS Fountain Project


 

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Partnership with University of Florida

We partnered with researchers from the University of Florida in a community-driven 3-year study in Brevard County on Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) 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 community members. This study will help us better understand PFAS contamination health risks and preventing exposures.

The data and information from this study will allow the UF team to develop comprehensive approaches for environmental protection, emergency management, and exposure mitigation, targeted at building healthy and environmentally resilient communities beyond the case study area.
 

Independent Testing and Projects

Community members came to Fight For Zero concerned about dangerous toxins in beach renourishment sand. The community raised money to test VOCs, SVOCs, TRPH, 8 RCRA Metals, and Mercury. 

The testing report on the sand for the 'Mid-Reach project area in Brevard County' showed Arsenic levels exceeded SCTL for Residential Direct Exposure. Additional testing of at least seven other places on the beach would need to be done to determine the natural background levels of Arsenic in the native soil. Projects like this are essential in collecting data and helping communities determine if their environment is safe. 

Your generous donations allow us to continue doing independent testing on our waterways, drinking water, fish, soil, biosolids, and produce. We understand that communities want to know where these chemicals are and how they could be exposed to make the best decisions on how to protect their families.



 

Manatee Unusual Mortality Event

In December 2020, a pipe at a park in Titusville, Florida, broke, spilling over 7 million gallons of sewage into several retention ponds connected to the Indian River Lagoon. Fight For Zero began documenting the event. Our team captured hundreds of dead fish images that lined the ponds and river and began receiving health complaints from surrounding communities and visitors of the park. One month later, we started seeing deceased manatees across the river at Balckpoint Wildlife Drive. 

We assembled a grassroots team to help document and report distressed manatees in the lagoon in the following months. Our organization also collaborated with Edgewater Environmental Alliance and Bear Warriors United to bring mass awareness and push for an Unusual Mortality Event when the number of deceased manatees began to climb into the hundreds. We collected over 200 muck-filled jars from the sewage spill site, where manatees washed ashore emancipated, and sent them to Tallahassee legislators who provided another 8 million dollars to FWC.    
 

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