Navy testing Jacksonville drinking water for cancer-causing chemicals

Testing local water for cancer-causing chemicals

Cancer-causing chemicals could be in the drinking water of several Jacksonville neighborhoods.

The Navy is now asking to take water samples to figure out if the water is safe.

“I’m pretty worried about the water contaminated in the house,” said Minh Tran, a resident of a potentially affected area.

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Areas around military bases and industrial sites across the country are being tested for the chemicals known as PFAs (per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances).

The chemicals are found in firefighting foam that can seep into the ground, and in turn, get into drinking water.

Naval Air Station Jacksonville is now looking to see if any private drinking wells have been impacted.

“That is very concerning and I’m disappointed that I’m just now hearing about that,” neighbor, Fallon McDuffie said.

McDuffie has lived in her home for six years and is now eight months pregnant.

She lives on one of the streets where the Navy is looking to conduct testing.

“I’m not too big on drinking the water from (the) refrigerator, I usually use it out of the sink so that concerns me a little bit,” McDuffie said.

The chemicals could potentially cause cancers and other health issues.

Another neighbor said she has liver issues and is now worried her drinking water could be damaging her health further.

“I’ll start buying... some bottled water,” she said.

Oncologist Julie Greenwalt said the same testing is happening in her hometown of Satellite Beach, where several of her classmates, including herself, have had cancer.

“When I looked at the NAS report comparison to that base, they were lower, but very concerning numbers,” Greenwalt said.

Besides drinking water, Greenwalt said it’s important that surrounding bodies of water near the potentially contaminated areas are tested.

“It’s another thing to think about with these chemicals in the ground... people fish in the river and then people eat the fish,” Greenwalt said.

Drinking water provided by the Jacksonville Electric Authority has been tested already and the chemicals were not found in that water.

According to NAS Jacksonville, if testing results indicate that drinking water was unsafe, people would be notified and the Navy would provide another water source.