Higher-than-normal rates of cancer have been reported in two ZIP codes that include Satellite Beach, Indian Harbour Beach, South Patrick Shores, Suntree, Palm Shores and Viera, according to a recently released report by the Florida Department of Health.
Though there is no concrete evidence that there is a cancer cluster, researchers speculate that these cases have been caused by contaminated groundwater that contains cancer-causing chemicals called PFOS and PFOA found in military fire-fighting foam. Further studies are taking place to determine if the cancers are linked or if they are coincidental, however concerns among beachside residents remain.
Freshman Chloe Seifert lives near Patrick Air Force Base and explained her experience with groundwater where carcinogens were found.
“They tested it, and it’s poison water,” Seifert said. “[They did] absolutely nothing, which is not good.”
Seifert said that she avoids this water as much as possible, which mostly comes from sprinklers.
“I’ve been avoiding sprinklers. I don’t want to die,” Seifert said. “Been there, done that.”
At age 11 Seifert was diagnosed with germinoma brain cancer and recovered after undergoing chemotherapy and radiation.
“Just don’t eat the sprinkler water,” Seifert said.
The drinking water is safe for consumption because it is coming from the Melbourne supply.
“I am mindful not to come in contact with water that has not gone through a filtration process,” freshman Abriella Mauldin said. “The Satellite Beach water actually comes from Melbourne, and it’s safe to consume.”
Despite the increased reports, it is still inconclusive unless further reports are made by the Florida Health Department.
“Who’s to say Indian Harbour Beach … may have increased cancer cases as well,” Mauldin said. “In order for it to be truly comparable, the surrounding areas should also be analyzed with similar scrutiny.”
By Laura Shelton