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Letter Asking ATSDR to Consider PFAS in Next Round of Toxicological Profile Development

Image by: Marcin Jozwiak

Dear ATSDR,

We are Fight For Zero, a community group in Brevard County, Florida. We are writing to ask that a large class of chemicals known as perfluoroalkyl and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) be in the next round of Toxicological Profile development. We feel that ATSDR should consider the entire class of PFAS in their next round because they have one of the strongest bonds in chemistry, causing them to live forever, never breaking down, and bioaccumulating in our bodies and the environment.

For decades, many residents in our communities were overexposed to a mixture of many different PFAS. For example, 13 beachside schools in Brevard County found PFBA in their fountain drinking water. We do not have clear answers on the long-term impacts of many individual PFAS on our health or how a mixture of many different PFAS will impact the health of future generations. For too long, the health and safety of our families have been disregarded.

For example, Patrick Air Force Base is one of the nation's military installations most severely impacted by PFAS contamination. Wells on Patrick Air Force Base tested at 4.3 million ppt. Families were devastated to learn that PFAS and other hazardous substances were in the water. Patrick Air Force Base, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and Kennedy Space Center utilized AFFF (Aqueous Film Forming Foam), which entered our water.

Our crowdsourcing efforts began in 2014; we collected 800 cancer cases in one zip code (32937) directly next to Patrick Air Force Base. These health concerns were brought to light in 2018 by Dr. Julie Greenwalt, an oncologist and cancer survivor. She attended the high school next to the base, with at least 56 graduates diagnosed with cancer within a few years of one another. The area had a cancer cluster investigation in the 90s with 27 cases of Hodgkin's Lymphoma. At that time, Dr. Richard Clapp, a former director of the Massachusetts state cancer registry who studied more than 1,000 cancer cases, said that the cancer cluster was one of the most striking in U.S. medical history.

We see significant diseases and illnesses in people far too young in our communities. Our wildlife is also affected as scientists are finding these chemicals at the high levels in our alligators, dolphins, manatees, and mullet.

Dr. Greenwalt's concerns combined with our crowdsourced medical information resulted in another cancer cluster study in 2019, where the Department of Health concluded that cancer rates are high in Brevard County, FL, but cannot explain why.

It would benefit our military service members, their families, and surrounding communities if we had more protective and legally enforceable PFAS standards. As a grassroots organization with individuals who were directly harmed by PFAS contamination, we request that you consider the entire class of PFAS in your next Toxicological Profile development. It's time for ATSDR to step up and protect our communities' health by regulating these dangerous chemicals and recommending a Provisional Minimal Risk Level of 1 part per trillion or less for the entire class of PFAS. 


Sincerely,
Stel Bailey
Executive Director, Fight For Zero

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