Cancer fears remain after carcinogenic chemicals were found in the groundwater in two beachside cities.

And beachside schools tested at trace levels of one compound, with the highest level at Satellite High School.

Although authorities gave Brevard County’s beachside schools a clean bill of health, this was little consolation to hundreds of cancer survivors demanding answers as to why these chemicals were found in the tap water.

Of the 21 fluorinated chemicals tested for, 20 were not detected.

But the tests from samples drawn last month at 13 barrier island schools did find a chemical called perfluorobutyrate (PFBA) at the schools on Melbourne’s water system, located south of Pineda Causeway. PFBA is is a breakdown product of chemicals used in paper food packaging, stain-resistant fabrics, carpets and in the manufacturing of photographic film.

Meanwhile, groundwater tests from two beachside cities this week further fueled fears that chemicals commonly associated with firefighting foams may be contributing to a spate of cancer cases along the county’s barrier island.

It’s unclear at this point where the chemicals are coming from, but groundwater tests at Patrick Air Force Base have found high levels in recent years. Residents also worry what hidden military waste from the base was buried in the area decades ago, before the homes were built.

The chemicals were found to cause some types of cancer, including kidney cancer, ovarian cancer, thyroid defects, immune suppression, elevated cholesterol and pregnancy complications.

Julie Greenwalt, is a Jacksonville oncologist and cancer survivor

Julie Greenwalt, a Jacksonville oncologist and cancer survivor who graduated from Satellite High School, questioned whether local exposures could have contributed to her illness and those of dozens of others in the area in recent years.

She’s identified about 45 cases of people diagnosed under the age of 40 associated with Satellite High School or the Satellite Beach area.

In a statement published by Florida Today, she explained: “I am grateful for the local officials and all of their help.

“I hope they continue to help make sure that the Brevard Community is safe. I am still concerned by the number of young adults with cancer in this area and hope they continue to search for answers.”

A March 2018 Department of Defense report found all 28 groundwater samples recently taken at Patrick exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recommended level for fluorinated chemicals. The highest level detected at the base was 4.3 million parts per trillion.

While, the EPA has not set a regulatory limit for the compounds, in 2016, it published a voluntary health advisory for them, warning that long-term exposure to the two chemicals at combined levels above 70 parts per trillion could be dangerous. One part per trillion is roughly the equivalent of a single grain of sand in an Olympic-sized swimming pool.

Other studies show the chemicals endanger human health at a far lower levels.

Epidemiologists warn that definitive conclusions in cancer cluster investigations are unlikely.

“With the tens of thousands of these sorts of events that have been reported, unfortunately, we’ve never learned anything about the causes of disease from those events,” said Dr. David A. Savitz, an epidemiologist at Brown University, told FLORIDA TODAY this past June, shortly after cancer concerns reemerged in the Satellite Beach area.

Similar cancer and other concerns had sprung up in the same area IN the late 1980s, but federal health officials determined there was no cluster.

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