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Accomplishments & Work

As a local advocacy group working alongside national and regional allies, we have made a substantial impact as a team coming together to protect lives from harmful pollution. Fight For Zero Executive Director Stel Bailey is a leader of the National PFAS Contamination Coalition, has been invited as a community liaison for national agencies, and works with other communities impacted by contamination. Fight For Zero is a community-based organization working to ensure our environment in Florida is not overlooked. Here are just some of the work we've accomplished since officially formalizing in 2018: ​

-  Began as Florida Health Connection, crowdsourcing health data throughout Brevard County, Florida, in 2014.
-  Fight For Zero was formalized by cancer survivors and their families as a nonprofit organization at the end of 2018. The Fight For Zero website and blog launched in early 2019 and grew to nearly 59,000 subscribers by 2022!
-  Successfully organized a leadership, grassroots, and citizen science team of volunteers.
-  Held numerous community meetings, conference calls, informational webinars, and statewide collaborations. 
-  Personally invested $14,000 in certified water testing to gather data.
-  While investigating a cancer cluster in the City of Satellite Beach Fight For Zero discovered that residents in South Patrick Shores were living on top of land used as a military landfill. Our organization played a pivotal role in getting a Formerly Used Defense Site (FUDS) designated after writing to federal agencies, meeting with government officials, and visiting families in the impacted area. We continue to monitor the progress of the Army Corps investigation of contamination and vapor intrusion.
Contracted DP GeoTech to provide mapping of Satellite Beach, FL cancer cases, buried debris in South Patrick Shores, elevation, and more.
-  Hosted a meeting with Erin Brockovich in Brevard County, Florida. 
-  Published on the front cover of Florida Today as the story of the year in 2018
-  Consistent attendance at the Air Force Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) meetings, local city council meetings, and county meetings.
-  Traveled to Tallahassee to meet with the Governor's board to discuss the public health crisis caused by PFAS contamination in 2019.
-  Traveled to Washington DC in collaboration with organizations across the United States to attend educational workshops, testify before Congress, and meet with congress members to discuss the challenges our communities face with contamination in 2019.
-  $20 million through the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for a national multi-site health study of PFAS.
-  Met locally with several senators and representatives to discuss the water quality and health issues.
-  $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
-  Spent six months documenting a 7.2 million gallon sewage spill in the City of Titusville from late 2020 to early 2021, which resulted in HB 4259 to provide $500,000 appropriations for the Titusville Osprey Water Reclamation Plant upgrade. 
-  Published in the Brockovich Report in 2021
-  Began documenting manatee deaths along the Indian River Lagoon and Banana River in Brevard County and aided in getting a UME (Unusual Mortality Event) established alongside local advocates such as Edgewater Environmental Alliance and Bear Warriors United in early 2021. We also formed a wildlife monitoring team to report distressed manatees.
-  Sent over 200 muck jars filled with Indian River Lagoon water from Titusville, Florida, in 2021, where 7.2 million gallons of sewage spilled to legislatures in Tallahassee. Legislatures gave Florida Fish and Wildlife (FWC) another $8 million to double their manatee recovery money.
-  Organized a statewide Demand for Clean Water walk across the state of Florida with numerous groups and organizations in 2021.​
-  Influenced health information as community liaisons at 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 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 academics at the University of Florida (UF) on a three-year PFAS study in Brevard County, Florida 
-  Participated in national calls, sign-on letters, campaigns, and collaborations with other organizations
-  Did a countywide drinking water project where we tested for 45 PFAS compounds at public park drinking water fountains. HB 4727 was introduced to provide $500,000 to enhance Titusville's drinking water treatment after finding PFOA and PFOS in the drinking water.
-  Did a screening of the Dark Waters Movie in Viera, Florida, in 2020 and organized a pass-around of movies like The Devil We know and No Defense to help bring awareness to contamination issues.
-  The Christmas Shoppe in Titusville, Florida, designed a specialized ornament for Fight For Zero with a manatee and fish to help raise funds for our work.
Partnered with Dawn Harrell of Breakers Art Gallery to bring awareness to the manatees and clean water movement.
-  West Coast Director, Cheryl, partnered with a Biostatisican expert on the Bayshore High School cancer cases in Manatee County, Florida, looking at how the Department of Health does their cancer cluster investigations.
-  Did preliminary testing in St. Cloud, Polk County, Tampa, and Central Florida and connected with testing companies helping us with resources and 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.
-  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!
-  Released an interactive pollution and disease map.
-  Worked labs for scientific analysis of environmental samples, Oncologist Greenwalt, environmental activist Erin Brockovich, water expert Robert Bowcock, environmental consultants L.S. Sims, geology and environmental engineer David Woodhouse, biostatistician Dr. Richard Smith, attorney Nicolas Vidoni, and more. 
-  Made hundreds of public record requests for contamination and water quality discovery and research purposes.
-  Took numerous environmental health training courses and continue to take opportunities to advance education, including Florida Master Naturalist Program, Converging on Cancer Workshop, Geosyntec PFAS Webinar, Advancing the Analysis in Serum, Fish Processing Workshop, and more. 
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-  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced new drinking water health advisory levels in June 2022 based on peer-reviewed toxicology. Levels changed to PFOAS at .004 ppt and PFOS at .02 ppt. 


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. 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 the Kennedy Space Center. We hosted 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 cancer rate in two zip codes in Brevard County. We continue to raise awareness of PFAS and legacy contamination and share education on the health effects of exposure to these and other carcinogenic 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 substantial time building a grassroots movement, doing community outreach, and bringing awareness to the debris buried underneath South Patrick Shores' homes. 


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: the 2019 School Water Quality Survey


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 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 of fully remediated. 


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


Partnership with University of Florida

Fight For Zero 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 images of hundreds of dead fish lining the ponds and river and began receiving health complaints from surrounding communities and visitors to the park. One month later, the team started seeing deceased manatees across the river at Balckpoint Wildlife Drive. 

The grassroots team helped 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 (UME) 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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