Dangerous 'forever chemicals' hiding in water, soil could be harming Brevard County resident's health

Environmental health researchers are worried about water quality on the Space Coast and how it’s affecting people’s health. 

They’ve been collecting hundreds of water samples and are sharing new data with the public on Thursday. 

Researchers have been collecting data for three years, from water samples to soil and sediments. They’re concerned about "forever chemicals" that could be hiding and hurting the community's health. 

"It doesn’t break down in the environment. It bioaccumulates in your body," said Stel Bailey who’s the executive director of Fight for Zero and a cancer survivor.

Bailey is worried about PFAS, also known as forever chemicals. She started the non-profit environmental organization, Fight For Zero, where she and other committed volunteers look to combat health hazards hiding in waterways and other areas. 

Fight For Zero worked with University Of Florida researchers to see what’s hiding in the Indian River Lagoon, tested fish and collected drinking water samples.  

"Our chemicals in this country have gone unregulated for so long that now we’re in this crisis mode of finding these chemicals everywhere, and it’s damaging people’s health," she added. 

After collecting and analyzing data for years, volunteers spent weeks going door to door, hanging door hangers from Mims to Palm Bay. 

"We want to ensure that every neighbor knows that this data is coming out so that they can make informed decisions for their families and start this conversation about lessening their exposures and learning more about what PFAS are," Bailey said. 

According to their research, she says flooding is moving forever chemicals around the county and some areas are more contaminated. 

"Merritt Island – they had some of the most flooding that has been happening, especially in the recent years, so we’re very concerned with them," Bailey said. 

They want the public to get involved in the issue and hope lawmakers will use the research to work on solutions. 

The public meeting will be held virtually from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. Anyone is invited to watch the live stream by clicking HERE.