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Horrifying: Notification of contaminated well water delayed … until one day before HIS election

2 min read

Yes, this really happened:

In August of last year, it was confirmed by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection that the Florida State Fire College had used dangerous flame-retardant chemicals, which have since been phased out of production due to their health risks. Unfortunately, preliminary tests indicated that water from nearby well sites had elevated levels of perfluorooctane sulfonate and perfluorooctanoic acid, which is not good: Early studies have suggested they are carcinogens and have multiple adverse effects on humans. 

Officials discussed in early September informing the Fire College, which was given supplies of bottled water on Sept. 9. The local residential population, however, had the unfortunate luck of the contamination being discovered during the height of Florida’s ultra-tight election contests.

The Tampa Bay Times and Miami Herald discovered emails in which officials debated for months how to “word messages” to the residents. The residents were eventually informed—on Monday, Nov. 5. That was the day before the midterm election.

Dr. Les Beitsch
Dr. Les Beitsch

In fact, according to Dr. Les Beitsch, a former Florida Department of Health deputy secretary, the notification to residents would have come after the election if he hadn’t raised such a stink about it. He said he was essentially fired for fighting against the delay, and he did not back off from the speculation that officials were more concerned about the impact on the upcoming tight elections than on the safety of residents. Dr.  Beitsch said his boss, DOH Secretary Celeste Philips, who was appointed by Rick Scott in 2016, told him where to go when he raised the alarm: She “made it ‘very clear’ that they were not to do ‘anything right now’ at a meeting on Nov. 2. Beitsch said his training as a physician called for ‘sharing news of this nature in person and immediately.’”

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