Cancer-Causing Chemicals Detected In Groundwater At Patrick Air Force Base

Air Force firefighting training with foam

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Florida - Chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects, liver damage, thyroid damage, increased uric acid levels, increased cholesterol, and immune system damage were detected in groundwater at Patrick Air Force Base and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, according to a report released by the U.S. Department of Defense in March.

According the report, all 28 groundwater monitoring stations on Patrick Air Force Base tested positive for perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and/or perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) - chemicals that are used to extinguish aircraft fires.

At Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, 8 out 11 monitoring stations tested positive for PFOS and/or PFOA.

Cancer Clusters In Satellite Beach

South of Patrick Air Force Base, the Florida Department of Health is investigating a possible cancer cluster in Satellite Beach, Florida where some residents have maintained that chemicals from the air force base caused an unusually high rate of Hodgkin’s lymphoma in the late 1960’s and 1980’s in the small South Patrick Shores subdivision.

Anyone who has lived on or near Patrick Air Force Base and was later diagnosed with cancer, should call the Florida Department of Health at (321)454-7101 to help aid in the data collection.

Shared Sewage System With Cocoa Beach

Patrick Air Force Base sewage system map
For over 20 years, sewage from Patrick Air Force base has been pumped to Cocoa Beach for treatment. Image credit: USAF

For over 20 years, the City of Cocoa Beach has treated nearly a million gallons of sewage per day from Patrick Air Force Base which is then turned into effluent water for the irrigation of commercial and residential lawns.

But according to the report, no off-base testing has been conducted by the Department of Defense to determine if the chemicals found at Patrick Air Force Base were introduced through stormwater and/or groundwater infiltration into the shared wastewater treatment system with Cocoa Beach.

Even if the chemicals are detected in Cocoa Beach, it is unlikely that the Department of Defense would pay for the toxic cleanup.

That’s because the U.S. Air Force has already denied reimbursing communities in Colorado that are now faced with having to pay millions to clean up the toxic fire-fighting chemicals that seeped into the aquifer.