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Fight For Zero Publishes Interactive Toxic Land Map in Florida

Credits (Attribution): Fight For Zero, Inc

Fight For Zero Publishes a Florida Interactive Toxic Land Map  

Fight For Zero is working on a series of maps that will illustrate legacy contamination, disease rates, crowdsourced data through the organization, and health studies done in communities. 

The organization published its first of several maps to be released on Friday, February 26, 2021, as a resource to visualize the sunshine state's Superfund (NPL) sites, Formerly Used Defense Sites (FUDS), lands with documented contamination, and communities with health investigations. The map illustrates over 360 sites with detailed information such as history, surrounding area, and links to documents. 

As you click on the scattered dots, you may be surprised to find neighborhoods and other properties built on top of contaminated sites, including old or illegal landfills. Fight For Zero contributor Abbey Rodmaker knows all too well the hardship that comes with unexpectedly buying a property that was a former unlawful landfill. Her family invested in a land that they believed they would build their dream home in Santa Rosa County. When they began to dig, they found widespread debris, which prompted them to do independent water testing that found harmful chemicals. They were never able to build their home and are stuck with the contaminated land.

Among the markers, you will find schools built on top of formerly contaminated land and health assessments of abnormally high disease rates in communities. Among those investigations is the Bayshore High School's cancer cluster, where an odd number of alumni and faculty were diagnosed with rare diseases. Fight For Zero Director Cheryl Jozsa lost her sister to a rare leukemia form at a young age. Experts who work with Cheryl determined that a former machine parts manufacturing company, Riverside Products, was a potential contributor of toxins to the area surrounding Bayshore High School. 

Green hazardous markings illustrate over 60 Formerly Used Defense Sites (FUDS), a program that cleans up environmental contamination at properties formerly owned, leased, or used by the military. A community boarding Patrick Air Force Base in Brevard County discovered the military buried waste in the 1940s, and their homes were built on top. After decades of uncovering buried debris like 55-gallon drums, mortars, rounds, and vehicle batteries, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decided to designate the area as a part of their Formerly Used Defense Site (FUDS) program. The installation has 21 active sites where the military cleanup actions are still ongoing. 

Mapping disease and environmental hazard data provide a resource so that people can make informed decisions. "This gives people the power of knowing," said Executive Director Stel Bailey. She says that education and being aware of environmental pollution impacts are crucial to making positive changes for future generations. 

The organization plans to release its cancer and autoimmune maps this year and other resources that will strengthen communities into action. The database will continue to be updated as information is received. 

If you would like to volunteer to help the organization visit the website at   

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