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Cancer Rates Are Higher in Brevard County and State Officials Do Not Know Why

May. 2, 2019 | FightForZero

The odds of being defined as a cancer cluster are very slim. Since 1917 there have only been 19 cancer clusters established in the world according to Wikipedia.

The Florida Department of Health states that Florida has the second-highest cancer burden in the nation. As of 2011, cancer is the leading cause of death for Floridians, surpassing heart disease. The Brevard County Cancer Assessment confirms what we thought all along; the cancer rates are higher in Brevard County, but the state health investigation found no "cancer cluster" in the two zip codes they investigated.

It is naïve to think that chemicals found in the blood and tissues of wildlife at the highest levels of toxic fluorinated chemicals ever measured in species didn’t affect human beings. The concern for health isn’t just about Satellite Beach, it’s also about the men and women in uniform, and the history of toxic dumping done by both the space industry and Air Force base.

The abnormal rate of Hodgkins Disease in the area first made headlines in the '90s. It was discovered that there were 30 toxic waste dumps at Patrick Air Force Base and nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station with contaminated soil and groundwater.

Cancer knows no municipal boundaries.

The Florida Department of Health study didn't look at other cancers or data from the military healthcare system. Even with strict criteria, they couldn't avoid the "significantly higher than normal" cancer rates in two Brevard County zip codes.

Even though the evaluation of possible cancer clusters is important, it is extremely challenging to identify, especially when the level of data collected is too inadequate to paint a high-resolution picture (broken down by zip code, not street level & stops at 2015). This is the 21st century; we can do better.

Fight For Zero has taken the initiative and lead in collecting self-reported diagnoses and mapping these illnesses in the state of Florida. We believe everyone counts, and no one should be turned away when submitting their information.

We find it interesting that in the Brevard Cancer Assessment report, the choice of words used to describe impact was “minimal” rather than “negligible.” Also, the determination that the groundwater is at a safe level is concerning as the EPA establishes no MCL nor has any equivalent state limit been established.

We count on the continuing support and submission of information from residents as we continue to fight to Washington DC this month to have those limits set.

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