“The Florida Department of Health is gathering data from current and former residents who are concerned their cancers may be linked to living near Patrick Air Force Base, the agency confirmed Thursday.
The agency’s interest was first posted on a Facebook community page for Satellite Beach. Residents there have been tracking the issue since the Pentagon’s issued its first-ever public report this March on the levels of water contamination at current and former military installations, including Patrick.
Since then, the number of current and former residents coming forward to say they lived on or near the base and have cancer has grown…
‘While this is not a formal investigation, the department does recognize the importance of gathering and assessing any information to help us determine necessary next steps,’ Galetta said. ‘Our current goal is to continue encouraging any concerned citizens in the community to provide further information to the local county health department to aid in that assessment.’…
On the community Facebook page, dozens of current or former residents wrote in with personal stories of cancer battles and questions as to what they should do next. Almost two decades ago, the community around Patrick was identified as having an unusually high rate of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, although no root cause was identified.
In California, a similar Facebook support group supports former service members or family who were stationed at the now-closed George Air Force Base. Those members report an unusual number of miscarriages and cancers.
The communities’ concerns come as Congress has funded a separate, first-of-its-kind study on the long-term effects of perfluorooctane sulfonate or perfluorooctanoic acid, also known as PFOS and PFOAs, compounds that are widely used in household goods, but concentrated in the foam used to put out aircraft fires…
The nationwide study will include an exposure assessment at ‘no less than eight domestic DoD installations,’ said Steve Jones, DoD’s director of force readiness and health assurance policy at the office health affairs. Those results will be used in a larger, follow-on review that will include non-DoD locations as well to ‘better define potential health outcomes associated with [the compounds,]’ Jones said. The study is expected to take seven years to complete, Jones said.
ATSDR has found that exposure to the compounds may increase risks for cancer, affect female fertility and increase the risks of birth defects, among other health risks.”
Read the full article by Tara Copp