Cleanup supporters protest controversial move to reassess past Rocketdyne cancer studies at request of anti-cleanup petition; government denies health risks even as new childhood cancer cluster emerges.

Rocketdyne's Deadly Risk

  • ATSDR accepts illegitimate petition to deny SSFL health impacts and sabotage cleanup
  • Community meeting turns the heat on state Toxics department, which fumbles in response to questions about cleanup standards and cancer risks
  • ATSDR says it will work with Boeing’s SSFL CAG, soon to be emboldened by an anonymous $32,000 donor
  • Boeing official says SSFL will be okay to hike just once a week

News & Analysis

Protesters demanding full cleanup of the contaminated Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL) demonstrated outside a September 8 government meeting in West Hills, a Los Angeles neighborhood in the western San Fernando Valley.

“Cleanup not cover-up!” the demonstrators chanted holding signs that said “Stop Denying SSFL Health Impacts” and “NO to Boeing Astroturfing & Greenwashing.”

One placard read “ATSDR Go Home” echoing sentiments toward the controversial federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, which had come to the meeting at the invitation of the state EPA’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), the lead regulatory agency on the SSFL cleanup.

Television cameras whirred as yet another battle was set to take place. Longtime cleanup advocates said this time, they were protesting a brazen attempt by Boeing, the Department of Energy, ATSDR and DTSC to rewrite Rocketdyne’s sordid history of nuclear meltdowns, radiation burning and extensive chemical contamination that has caused cancer on and offsite as reported in The Fallout in February 2006.

To be sure, the agencies and the parties responsible for the SSFL cleanup – Department of Energy (DOE), NASA, Boeing – have employed many wily and disingenuous attempts to avoid cleanup over the years. But in the eyes of community cleanup activists, one of the most outrageous is ATSDR’s recent acceptance of what they call a phony petition intended to have the agency refute previous SSFL health studies, including ones it funded in 2006 and 2007, that link Rocketdyne with worker and offsite cancers. The protesters said they were also there to call out DTSC for slacking off on promises to clean up Rocketdyne to previously agreed upon levels and those dictated by local Ventura County zoning where the lab is located.

Phony Petition

In August, ATSDR announced that it had accepted a “citizen’s petition” to re-assess previous studies of health impacts related to SSFL and to weigh in on cleanup “options.” Problem is, the “citizen’s petition” turns out to be have been submitted under false pretenses by a former lab employee, Woodland Hills resident Abe Weitzberg.

Weitzberg asks ATSDR to refute independent health studies that found evidence of harm, and “re-state” the conclusions of a 1999 ATSDR study that was inconclusive by design. He also asks the agency weigh in against the SSFL cleanup. But there are no cleanup “options” – the DOE and NASA signed legally-binding agreements to cleanup their portions of SSFL to background levels of contamination. Boeing was supposed to cleanup to a similar standard, at least that’s what DTSC said in 2010 before Governor Jerry Brown’s administration started reversing the course on cleanup.

Among many tall tales piled on by Weitzberg is that his petition was submitted on behalf of the Boeing-supported SSFL Community Advisory Group, a collection of anti-cleanup agitators who lobby for nearly nothing to be cleaned up at the site as EnviroReporter.com exposed in December 2012 in Operation Astroturf and again in March 2014 with Truth or Scare?. Turns out, the CAG never officially approved the petition, and by their own definition, Weitzberg violated the DTSC CAG rules by doing so on his own while claiming to represent the CAG.

Weitzberg boasts his credentials, including a “study” of his own which cherry-picked previous studies to find – voilà – the incredibly toxic nuclear and chemical contamination at Rocketdyne never hurt anyone. One of his claims to fame is working on a space reactor program, the SNAP 8 experimental reactor that failed in the 1950s and saw 80 percent of its reactor’s core damaged, releasing an unknown amount of radiation into the surrounding environment. Weitzberg also worked for the DOE which is responsible for the radiological cleanup of its part of SSFL, so-called Area IV.

Abe Weitzberg at September 8, 2015 DTSC meeting
Abe Weitzberg at September 8, 2015 DTSC meeting.
“As the nefarious writer of the petition whose listed all the correct things that were said about it [sic], I will ask ATSDR if I will be given an opportunity to correctly state that the petition resulted with the support of the CAG and based on the request of one of the independent investigators who followed the ATSDR study and came up with different results we had discussing [sic],” Weitzberg said at the meeting.

“I’m talking about with Dr. Cohen. He and I were discussing discrepancies between the ATSDR report and his report and the context was to have a neutral panel of experts come to the community, sit down in public, and discuss among themselves how best to resolve that issue. Dr. Cohen said he would participate.”

According to documents obtained by EnviroReporter.com, none of Weitzberg’s posturing was even remotely true.

Weitzberg wrote in his June 2014 letter to ATSDR that his petition was from the SSFL Community Advisory Group (CAG), the officially recognized citizens group recognized by DTSC despite its being outed as a Boeing supported astroturf front group. But in an August 31, 2015 email Alec Uzemeck, CAG co-chair, says “Abe Weitzberg communicated with the ATSDR on his own and developed their interest and commitment to do a SSFL health study.” Uzemeck also says that “[T]he ATSDR was not a CAG action.”

The notion that Weitzberg convinced one of authors of one of the studies he so desperately wants to discredit, UCLA’s Dr. Yoram Cohen, to help him rip the studies was also factually incorrect, to put it politely. Cohen says so himself in a September 8, 2015 letter to the heads of ATSDR and the Center for Disease Control (CDC), which oversees ATSDR.

“In June of last year, ATSDR received a letter from an individual, which questioned results of past studies, including ours, and criticized the cleanup agreements entered into by DOE, NASA, and DTSC in 2010 as supposedly requiring too much protection of public health,” wrote the three authors of the two studies Weitzberg targeted, Hal Morgenstern, PhD at the University of Michigan, Adrienne Katner, PhD now with Louisiana State University and Yoram Cohan, PhD at UCLA. “Representations made in the petition about our research and positions were misleading and disingenuous.”

Far from being buddies with Cohen, as Weitzberg implies, the doctor was harassed by the aggressive Rocketdyne cleanup opponent. “We must also inform you that if indeed the petitioner is the individual in question, he has in the last several years harassed each of us, at times quite aggressively,” the three respected medical researchers wrote. “ATSDR’s role should be to protect researchers who undertake work for it from such harassment, not facilitate it.”

Sodium Reactor Experiment melted down in 1959 releasing more radiation than Three Mile Island in 1979.
Sodium Reactor Experiment melted down in 1959 releasing more radiation than Three Mile Island in 1979.
“[W]e believe acceptance of this petition would be at odds with ATSDR’s mission “to prevent exposure and adverse human health effects and diminished quality of life associated with exposures to hazardous substances from waste sites unplanned releases, and other sources of pollution present in the environment,” the researchers concluded. “This petitioner does not hide his true intention very well, which is to discredit past research and relax current cleanup agreements. In addition, the petitioner’s conflicts of interest appear questionable. We respectfully urge ATSDR to reverse its decision.”

This is not the first time that Cohen and Morgenstern have faced the power of the polluter. In 2007, Morgenstern responded to Boeing’s mischaracterization of his study in a letter to then-State Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto), stating:

“I would like to make it clear to your Committee that Boeing’s claim made about the conclusion of our study is false. We did not conclude that there was no excess cancer in the communities surrounding SSFL. Furthermore, Boeing’s quotes from our report were taken out of context, and they failed to report our specific findings that contradicted their claim.

In the main analyses of our study, we compared the incidence rate of specific cancers in adult residents living within 2 miles and 2-5 miles from SSFL with adult residents living more than 5 miles from SSFL in both Ventura and Los Angeles Counties. For the period 1988 through 1995, we found that the incidence rate was more than 60% greater among residents living within 2 miles of SSFL than among residents living more than 5 miles from SSFL for the following types of cancer: thyroid, upper aerodigestive tract (oral and nasal cavities, pharynx, larynx, and esophagus), bladder, and blood and lymph tissue (leukemias, lymphomas, and multiple myelemas).

Santa Susana Field Laboratory in Simi Hills in the heart of Southern California.
Santa Susana Field Laboratory in Simi Hills in the heart of Southern California.
For the period 1996 through 2002, we found that the incidence rate of thyroid cancer was more than 60% greater among residents living within 2 miles of SSFL than for residents living more than 5 miles from SSFL. The magnitude and consistency of the thyroid finding for both periods is especially provocative because of evidence from other studies linking thyroid cancer with environmental exposures originating at SSFL and found in the surrounding communities.”

The SSFL studies’ authors weren’t the only ones alarmed by this unprecedented ATSDR action to certify a clearly suspect petition to dismiss independent studies. The SSFL Epidemiological Oversight Panel, which was founded in the early 1990s, expressed dismay and noted the precedent that would be broken against federal interference in studies of federally polluted sites.

“The legislators obtained from DOE approximately $1.5 million for a worker study, to be overseen by the Panel, with DOE having no say about the choice of investigators or the content of their work,” panel members wrote CDC September 8. “This was a remarkable new model for conducting epidemiologic studies, with the federal government funding but staying out of the research, which instead was conducted by outside researchers with strong measures to assure their independence.”

“The petition in question here would have ATSDR breach that quarter-century understanding,” the panel concluded. “Furthermore, the petition quite inappropriately asks ATSDR to repudiate carefully conducted research paid for by ATSDR a decade ago and which ATSDR reviewed at the time. The request also asks ATSDR to urge the breaking of cleanup agreements entered into by other agencies and cleanup requirements issued by the site’s regulator, far outside ATSDR’s scope of proper involvement. And lastly, the request isn’t a genuine request from community members concerned about their health, but comes from an individual associated with the Responsible Parties active in efforts to relieve them of their cleanup obligations. These simply are inappropriate roles for ATSDR.”

Citizens who support total remediation of the toxic land, like the Rocketdyne Cleanup Coalition (RCC) which formed in 1989, say “ATSDR’s acceptance of Weitzberg’s petition is disgraceful.”

“ATSDR’s interference in SSFL will not help us,” RCC wrote to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as ATSDR and CDC, September 8. “It will only hurt. SSFL contamination must be cleaned up so that current and future generations are protected. We have already experienced decades of denials and delays. We have health studies; we have a cleanup agreement. The petition was illegitimate and ATSDR’s grant of it was illegitimate. The petition was a patent attempt by someone with ties to the Responsible Parties to help them avoid their cleanup obligations. ATSDR should reverse its decision to accept the petition, and should stay out of our community.”

The community is furious. But even getting more than an earful about it at the Corporate Pointe meeting, ATSDR’s Libby Vianu told Weitzberg he had gotten his wish.

ATSDR's Libby Vianu at Sept 8, 2015 DTSC meeting granting phony petition to undo SSFL cancer studies over objections of community.
ATSDR’s Libby Vianu at Sept 8, 2015 DTSC meeting granting phony petition to undo SSFL cancer studies over objections of community.
“If I understand correctly, your question is in summarizing what was actually in the petition request letter and you’re asking us are we going to come” she said to Weitzberg at the Corporate Pointe meeting. “And the answer is we’ve answered that. We sent an acceptance letter back to you and it is now and has been distributed and where we are now is in that process of coming to the community, collecting data, so the answer is yes we’re doing this work and we’re in the process.”

ATSDR Outrages

That ATSDR would accept the Weitzberg petition to undo studies already paid for and reviewed by ATSDR may be outrageous and a misuse of taxpayer dollars, but it is hardly surprising.

The agency gained notoriety for its polluter kowtowing and hostility to the public in 2009 when a report by the Congressional Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight called “The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR): Problems in the Past, Potential in the Future?” showed that ATSDR’s endeavors to “deny, delay, minimize, trivialize or ignore legitimate concerns and health considerations of local communities and well respected scientists and medical professionals.”

This prompted subcommittee chairman Congressman Brad Miller (D- North Carolina) to say at a March 2009 subcommittee hearing that ATSDR seemed to “please industries and government agencies” and called agency reports “jackleg assessments saying ‘not to worry.”

Over six years later and ATSDR, under its new director since December 2014, Pat Breysse, PhD, doesn’t appear to have changed its spots. Indeed, ATSDR seems content to break its own regulations according to information obtained by EnviroReporter.com.

Protesters at Sept 8, 2015 DTSC meeting have fought for full cleanup of SSFL for decades.
Protesters at Sept 8, 2015 DTSC meeting have fought for full cleanup of SSFL for decades.
Weitzberg’s petition calls for the repudiation of the two SSFL cancer studies which is in violation of ATSDR regulations (42 CFR Part 90.4) which say that petitions must include “A statement providing information that individuals have been exposed to a hazardous substance and that the probable source is a release, or sufficient information to allow the Administrator to make such a finding.” This is the opposite of what Weitzberg requested, and under false pretenses at that.

ATSDR’s Vianu explained to the Corporate Pointe audience that the agency approves 30 to 40 citizen’s petitions for help investigating polluted sites. What Vianu didn’t cop to was that she was part of a decision to reject a legitimate petition in July 2014 to investigate radiological and chemical contamination at George Air Force Base in Victorville, California 75 miles to the northeast of downtown Los Angeles.

“ATSDR reviewed the information you provided in your website (http://www.georgeafb.info/),” the agency wrote to petitioner Frank Vera, who says he was exposed to radiation at the base in 1973 and has been on a mission to have it cleaned up for years. “ATSDR also requested and received documents from the US Air Force that provided information concerning the groundwater contamination beneath the golf course that was not described in the 1998 PHA [Public Health Assessment]. After reviewing the information from both sources, ATSDR concluded that the additional information does not change the conclusions or recommendations presented in the original PHA. As a result, ATSDR will not conduct any additional activities to update the 1998 PHA.”

The Sins of Rocketdyne 2009 newspaper cover story by Michael Collins exposed painful cancer stories associated with SSFL.
The Sins of Rocketdyne 2009 newspaper cover story by Michael Collins exposed painful cancer stories associated with SSFL.
In other words, the government will go with what the government says – despite the evidence gathered by citizens concerned with their own health. This is precisely why the longtime community members near SSFL fought for independent studies, and object to ATSDR involvement in their community.

The rejection letter to Vera also confirms another objection by the SSFL community – ATSDR does not have the experience or jurisdiction to weigh in on cleanups. ATSDR states, “It is also important to note that ATSDR is a non-regulatory public health agency and does not investigate or evaluate actions or activities conducted by other agencies.” So by its own admission, ATSDR has no standing to provide any “opinion” on the SSFL cleanup.

Feds Fob Off the Public

Newbies to the world of radiation and toxic waste policy could be understandably confused by the notion that the federal government deliberately subverts its own abilities to protect the public from accidental or deliberate contamination releases. In fact, much of federal policy seems counter-intuitive as two recent examples illustrate.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced September 8 that, after five years and $1.5 million deciding whether to study whether living next to a nuclear power plant could be hazardous to health, it would not do the probe because it would take too long and be too expensive.

Californian’s living in the shadow of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, built near major earthquake faults near San Luis Obispo, and the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station hard on San Clemente’s southern border will never know how much they are being exposed to radiation regularly – and legally – vented from nuclear reactors.

The NRC said that the study would be “impractical, given the significant amount of time and resources needed and the agency’s current budget constraints.” The cost over the decades it would take to perform the investigation was $60 million, a trifle in the tens of billions the nuclear industry will pay into the fee-supported NRC over the same period.

EPA RadNet beta graphs like this 6 Aug 2014 showing high readings in Amarillo Texas were removed in late August 2015.
EPA RadNet beta graphs like this 6 Aug 2014 showing high readings in Amarillo Texas were removed in late August 2015.
Another recent example of federal contempt for the American public was the late-August 2015 US Environmental Protection Agency removal of beta radiation graphs monitoring the most dangerous, and almost always manmade, radiation in the air coast to coast. Organized for easy access by this online news organization at RadNet Air Monitoring, these beta graphs were the first line defense for knowing where it’s hot or not.

Now the graphs have been replaced with a poorly functioning portal into a confusing mishmash of useless data and feel good copy about radiation in general but, most importantly, no accessible beta graphs like the ones we made understandable since 2013. Privately run radiation networks, like EnviroReporter.com’s nine Radiation Stations in the US and Australia, can’t come close to the potential effectiveness of RadNet especially in this new age of deadly adversaries.

Dirt and Money

None of this is news to Dan Hirsch, president of the Committee to Bridge the Gap who has fought for the cleanup of SSFL for decades. He knows the 2,850-acre lab is grossly polluted with radiological and chemical contamination and home to at least three partial nuclear reactor core meltdowns including the 1959 Sodium Reactor Experiment meltdown that released hundreds of times more radiation from its unfortified building than the 1979 Three Mile Island partial meltdown disaster did in Pennsylvania.

SSFL Hot Lab Packaging Radioactive Waste
SSFL Hot Lab Packaging Radioactive Waste
In 1989, Hirsch and the Rocketdyne Cleanup Coalition succeeded in shutting down DOE’s nuclear research activities and worked with local elected officials to form the Santa Susana Field Laboratory Work Group, which presents information and analysis to the community regarding SSFL contamination and cleanup.

Eventually, the community’s hard work began to pay off in getting the site remediated back to some semblance of normal, considering its heavily industrialized and poisonous past. In 2010, Administrative Orders on Consent were signed by DTSC, DOE and NASA to clean their parts of SSFL to background levels of radiation and chemicals. According to the pre-Governor Brown DTSC, Boeing is obligated to clean up to the agricultural standards for which it is zoned, which would also bring the place back to normal.

The community thought they had finally gotten through with all the battles, studies, reports and public meetings, as well as a host of diseases and cancers many hold were caused by the lab’s cornucopia of goo. It was not to be. Jerry Brown became governor and with him came Boeing’s army of lobbyists. DTSC became a fully “captured agency,” withdrew Work Group support and sanctioned the Boeing CAG. Even with further exposure last year as greenwashing tools in Truth or Scare?, anti-cleanup zealots have been enabled by corrupt government allies in DTSC and ATSDR.

And, they may soon be further emboldened by mysterious money funding. The SSFL CAG recently announced it is due to receive an anonymous donation of $32,000, “no strings attached.” The CAG leadership’s withholding of the identity of the donor caused one member, Elizabeth Harris to resign. Harris was concerned the anonymous funding could jeopardize her publicly funded research as a community psychologist. The CAG says the donor’s identity may be revealed at the end of the year, when its newly formed foundation files its taxes. It remains then to been seen whether the deep-pocketed donor is affiliated with Boeing, or Native American gambling interests, such as the Chumash, who have launched their own bid to obtain the polluted property as EnviroReporter.com reported in China Syndrome Town.

Hirsch knew all this as he listened to the first DTSC presenter, staff toxicologist Donald Greenlee, speak of risk assessments in careful parsed language. DTSC announced rather vaguely that “[T]he meeting will be on how risk assessment is done at cleanup sites and to answer questions from the community regarding risk assessments at SSFL.” When Greenlee finished, the Corporate Pointe crowd seemed more confused than when he started. Not Hirsch.

SSFL cleanup proponent Dan Hirsch explains at Sept 8, 2015 meeting how DTSC is breaking its promise to clean up Rocketdyne.
SSFL cleanup proponent Dan Hirsch explains at Sept 8, 2015 meeting how DTSC is breaking its promise to clean up Rocketdyne.
“I heard in your presentation that DTSC has now broken the commitments that it made in 2010 – in writing – that the Boeing property would be cleaned up to the agricultural, the rural residential standard, not suburban residential which is much weaker,” Hirsch said as the first called questioner of Greenlee’s presentation. “You folks recently asked Ventura County, and they confirmed that it is zone and planned designation is agriculture and the director has said she is going to require cleanup to those standards. Are you breaking the commitment of 2010 or are you taking the direction from your director?”

DTSC officials appeared dumbstruck, though they knew full well what Hirsch was talking about. In its 2010 response to comments on the AOCs (then called the Agreements in Principle), DTSC said, “Even absent SB 990, DTSC, in implementing its cleanup authorities, would defer to local governments’ land use plans and zoning decisions. In this instance, the Ventura County zoning maps specify that the site and much of the surrounding area are currently zoned as rural agricultural.”

Before the moderator could cut Hirsch off, the nuclear watchdog turned to the audience to explain.

“Let me make sure everyone understands,” Hirsch said. “They promised in 2010 to clean up all the contamination at Boeing. The administration changed. Boeing hired a bunch of lobbyists. They are very close to the current governor and all of a sudden they shifted to a standard that would allow not clean up all of it but to clean up two percent of it, leave all the rest of it there and that’s simply because of the power of that polluter. And you’re not getting a straight answer and I think you can see that in the body language. They broke the commitment made in 2010 and they want to leave almost all of the contamination there because of the power of that polluter. And you’re going to pay the price.”

Once A Week Park

That additional price may already be being paid, voluntarily. For several years, Boeing has held tours of SSFL that have attracted hundreds of participants. EnviroReporter.com has obtained releases that the company has required visitors to sign before being allowed on the property which relinquish any rights the signer might want if suing over any adverse health effects, including cancer and death. The releases also sign away the visitors’ rights over their image recreating at the lab that hasn’t been cleaned up.

Duping people into visiting a contaminated site as part of a slick trick to use them to show how supposedly safe it is already is pretty shameless. What Boeing didn’t count on was that one of its own employees, David Dassler, would reveal what the real risks might be on one of these feel-good tours when he told SSFL worker advocate and cleanup activist, Bonne Klea, that after cleanup it would be safe enough for one hike a week.

Bonnie Klea at 8 Sept 2015 meeting. "The Atomic Avenger" worked at SSFL and advocates for nuclear workers harmed by radiation.
Bonnie Klea at 8 Sept 2015 meeting. “The Atomic Avenger” worked at SSFL and advocates for nuclear workers harmed by radiation.
“That really stuck in my mind because that would be such a limited time that he said it would be safe, one hike a week,” Klea told EnviroReporter.com. Klea, who has earned the moniker The Atomic Avenger due to her decades-long fight for injured nuclear workers compensation for folks harmed by places like SSFL, heard Dassler say this on a January 31, 2015 bus tour of SSFL which was organized for the West Hills Neighborhood Council (though protested by cleanup advocates as violating California’s Brown Act open meeting laws).

That estimation didn’t jibe with the presentation Greenlee had just presented and this reporter asked him about it a couple of questioners after Hirsch had lowered the boom.

“I don’t think he meant hiking only once a week,” Greenlee offered even though Dassler and Klea were in the audience and there was no objection to how the incident was related. The follow-up question also went unanswered: Would future site owners be required to have all visitors sign a comprehensive liability waiver too to be able to trod upon some future open space park?

Greenlee couldn’t say. Future SSFL visitors might be best served by naming the future open space “Once A Week Park.” As for the folks who live near SSFL year-round, tough luck. Wind and rain will bring the once-a-week contamination down the hill to them and there will be nothing to prevent them from being exposed.

Once A Week Park won't be cleaned up if the greenwashers and astroturfers have their way.
Once A Week Park won’t be cleaned up if the greenwashers and astroturfers have their way.
Hiking on land as polluted as SSFL, with just two percent of it cleaned up under the scenario Hirsch showed, could cause quite a hot foot if one were to step in the wrong place. As EnviroReporter.com exposed in March 2012 with Radiation Readings Soar at Rocketdyne*, some locations in Area IV of SSFL are thousands of times more radioactive than normal background.

Not only did EnviroReporter.com expose these incredibly hot spots, it knows exactly where they are. Should DOE manage to not remediate these vast hot areas over background back to normal, we’ll find them when Once A Week Park or Hot Slots Casino opens, film them and share the videos on our website.

It is not as outlandish as it sounds. As of this week, according to the Colorado Health Department, it’s safe to go hiking near nuclear waste at the Rocky Flats Plant, now re-branded the Rocky Flats Wildlife Refuge. The plant produced nuclear weapons from 1952 to 1992. The FBI raided the place in 1989 over environmental crimes. It remains heavily contaminated with plutonium buried in the dirt. But you can go hiking there now just like you can at SSFL.

Re-branding is something Boeing knows about too as it refers to SSFL as “Santa Susana” without “Field Laboratory” which sounds like a song and certainly is less chemical sounding. But whatever you call the old Rocketdyne lab, the polluter and its surrogates are counting on memories of meltdowns to fade even if the radiation, chemicals, heavy metals, PCBs and dioxins haven’t.

That may seem like a sound, if immoral, plan but it doesn’t take into account the wild card of a new group of local mothers who blame the Santa Susana Field Laboratory for their children’s rare cancers and showed up at the Corporate Pointe Meeting.

Fallbrook Fallout

Dan Hirsch and Melissa Bumstead meet Sept 8, 2015 which will not make anti-cleanup collaborators happy.
Dan Hirsch and Melissa Bumstead meet Sept 8, 2015 which will not make anti-cleanup collaborators happy.
“We’re new because my daughter is still in treatment,” said Melissa Bumstead, who was accompanied by five other mothers, who had either lost children to extremely rare cancers or have kids suffering from them. “I haven’t had the emotional energy to be thinking outside of our survival for the last two years. Just barely at that point right now. Pretty fragile emotionally. I’ll say that and some of the other moms are in the same place.

“We’ve just finished treatment and here’s the thing. We all live, we all live pretty close. We go to Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and we started finding each other in the halls and started saying ‘You live in my area. That’s impossible.’ Cancer, child pediatric cancer has a national average of 0.003 percent. Extremely rare.”

The auditorium was silent. It felt like the big room was holding its breath. Even the astroturfers listened as if they knew something was coming, something that could upset them and their plans.

Map of rare child cancer cases near SSFL - KCAL 9 cbsLA screenshot
Map of rare child cancer cases near SSFL – KCAL 9 cbsLA screenshot
“So we started to map out,” Bumstead said as she handed Greenlee a map with red dots on it. “These are the people I know by name that have been diagnosed in the last two weeks. These are our friends and so I’m not a scientist, I’m not a statistician but when we started to see this map and how close we are we started to say what is the national average and this cluster that we’re seeing so close to Fallbrook Avenue? We started to feel unsafe about that.”

With good reason. There were ten red dots on that map represented ten children who live three to five miles from her house.

“My daughter has a cancer so rare that one in a million children will get it,” Bumstead said turning to point at her fellow mothers. “We have three cases of neuroblastoma, extremely rare childhood cancers and they are almost in a close enough area where they can shake hands with each other. What we’re going to start looking for; we’re going to start coming to these meetings more, we’re having a hard time getting the information we need.”

That information would not be coming from the assembled DTSC team. Bumstead knew what she had found was extremely significant but right there, in front of friends, strangers and government officials, she realized that she was going to get no help from the government, a prospect that panicked her in real time.

“There’s some research done by UC Berkeley that is starting to connect dust samples to leukemia and they think because children are on the floor more often, and get their hands in their mouth, they’re starting to link dust contamination with childhood cancers,” Bumstead said to the team onstage. “The fact that everything I’ve shown you on that map is kind of almost linear from the Santa Susana site or close to it. I’m concerned that if there are contaminants – I understand that everything is hypothetical – you don’t know what’s dangerous out there, apparently, right now but if there was to be something dangerous what are you doing? What steps are being taken? Because I’ve heard that cleanup might not start until 2017 but we’re panicking, you know? We’re frightened.”

DTSC’s SSFL project team manager Mark Malinowski moved to the microphone to utter words meant to soothe Bumstead, words implausible to anyone cognizant that contamination in the air, water and soil doesn’t respect site boundaries, especially when the Santa Ana winds blow or El Niño delivers torrential rains as it is anticipated to do.

DTSC's SSFL project manager Mark Malinowski at 8 Sept 2015 DTSC meeting.
DTSC’s SSFL project manager Mark Malinowski at 8 Sept 2015 DTSC meeting.
“Based on the sampling we have, what we try to do when we do sampling; we sample from where the likely source of contamination is and start sampling out,” Malinowski said to Bumstead and the assembled. “When we basically start doing that sampling, and we’re going outward we usually have boundaries that really define, say, we know where that is and 99.99% of everything is within the site boundaries. We do have some clean up that has to be done under the Administrative Order on Consent in a couple of the drainages to the north but basically the investigations have not found any significant impact that would be a threat to the public health environment off the Santa Susana Field Lab.”

In other words, those ten exceedingly rare child cancers, and all the others that are happening, have happened and will curse untold numbers of San Fernando Valley infants in the future, have nothing to do with Rocketdyne. When the mothers asked the obvious question – what keeps the contamination on the property – they also got no honest answer from DTSC, which should have told them the contamination is not contained and will continue to migrate until it’s cleaned up.

To make sure that Bumstead and the other five moms got the point, one of the most infamous of health impact deniers and self-professed Meltdown Denier Chris Rowe took the floor. Sensing, perhaps, that the meeting was turning out poorly for the pro-polluter crowd, Rowe did something even more craven than usual in her years disrupting meetings with revisionist natter – she flogged her own cancer addressing Bumstead directly.

Chris Rowe, the self-professed "Meltdown Denier," at 8 Sept 2015 DTSC meeting telling mothers of children with rare cancers that anything could have caused it, not necessarily SSFL.
Chris Rowe, the self-professed “Meltdown Denier,” at 8 Sept 2015 DTSC meeting telling mothers of children with rare cancers that anything could have caused it, not necessarily SSFL.
“There is nothing I have to say to these families with children with cancer, or whatever, there is nothing that tugs at my heart more than that,” she said straight faced. “I had a child that I took to UCLA on a weekly basis for childhood illnesses and so I want you to know. And I have had cancer myself, so we don’t always know the sources of our cancers,” which was Rowe’s way of saying that, whatever the cause of these rare child cancers, it isn’t SSFL and Boeing’s fault. “You need to be aware that there are other things in our lives that cause cancers and our illnesses and I do have a lot of chronic disease.”

That will be ATSDR’s finding as well, if it continues its course at SSFL. The agency has promised to work closely with Weitzberg and the Boeing CAG, who will be sure to guide it to a conclusion that will be inconclusive at best. SSFL never hurt anyone, they will say, so no need to bother cleaning it up.

The chronic disease that lies at the heart of the battle to clean up Rocketdyne is a willingness to go to any length, break any societal restraint, to baldly lie about it in order to protect property values and Boeing’s bottom line. It is the perfect toxic storm, a polluter fighting cleanup with the ready aid of state and federal agencies and a cadre of cunning collaborators.

But don’t count the cleanup activists out. They’ve gone 26 years, and will go another 26, they say, if that’s what it takes to make sure their communities no longer have to worry about SSFL’s toxic fallout.

+++

Learn more about SSFL contamination and health risks at the next meeting of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory Work Group:

Thursday, September 24, 6:30 PM
Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center
3050 E. Los Angeles Avenue, Simi Valley, CA 93065

19 Comments

  1. I’m Dennis DuBois, In 2013 I had surgery for Thyriod and Nymph node Cancer, I’m being radiation for Prostate Cancer. I grew up in Canoga Park, Chatsworth and Simi Valley areas 1956 to 2010. I played, swam and hiked all over Santa Suzanna and the surrounding Hills. If there is any connection between the Rockdyne Nuclear Mess and my cancer please contact me. I have cousins who have also suffered with cancer growing up in the same areas

  2. Another Simi Mom

    In follow-up to Michael’s comment on 11/22/15, that the Federal government has shut down its entire radiation measurement network which formerly allowed the public to see readings in various locales, today 1/5/16 is clearly the day of regret, as North Korea claims to have tested a powerful hydrogen bomb at its east coast test site. So all of us, including parents of children, will be sitting here in the figurative dark, not knowing what is blowing onto the United States.

    This is what happens when a government allows political spin-meisters rather than serious people who care about public health and safety make key decisions for the government.

    If the RadNet was up and running, the government might even be able to determine if North Korea is just peddling baloney, as some news writers hope, or if the North Koreans really did an atmospheric test of a nuclear bomb.

  3. Thank you for the followup. At least we know that the monitors that aren’t working properly have been switched off. However, “no data” is not desireable. The only good news is that at least some detectors are working. Something is better than nothing.

    Beta emissions do not travel far, so I expect they must collect dust from air samples on filters, place the collected samples under a detector and take readings. Surely this activity was at least semi-automated, but it is likely the machines doing this function either broke or no one maintained the consumables. This is just speculation, but it sounds like the EPA doesn’t want to admit that this is what happened.

    Fixing this problem probably won’t happen until the next accidental or intentional nuclear release.

  4. BETA BLIND

    We have reviewed the Wall Street Journal article “Radiation Sensors in Major U.S. Cities Turned Off Because They Don’t Work” and it indeed provides a great deal more information about this crucial early-warning system that EnviroReporter.com had organized into a usable fashion in RadNet Air Monitoring until it was unceremoniously cut off.

    “A national radiation-monitoring system enhanced after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks isn’t working as intended, with nearly three-quarters of stations not checking for a type of radiation in real time, including ones in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles,” the WSJ piece begins. “Environmental Protection Agency officials confirmed 99 of 135 beta-radiation sensors in its RadNet system … aren’t working and have been turned off. Officials blame electromagnetic interference from sources such as cellphone towers and said efforts to resolve the problem have been unsuccessful.”

    It took until 2015 for EPA to pull the plug on a system that didn’t work right since 2001? That begs credulity. But if that is true, it speaks to years of incompetence and indifference through both Democratic and Republican administrations.

    “EPA officials said the beta-detection problem cropped up in 2006 when they started putting the real-time monitors into the field,” which, again, sounds dubious. How is it that the beta-detection worked fine from 2001 to 2005 with no apparent problem yet once put “into the field” they failed to work? More malarkey. No explanation for this dubious claim that doesn’t explain how and where this monitors first worked wherever they were stationed. If, however, the problem was shielding against outside interference, why not just increase the shielding?

    One apparent problem is that the reporters, bright gents from all accounts we’ve heard, don’t understand how radiation works entirely therefore don’t report the story accurately. Take this sentence: “In instances where only a beta emitter is present, the lack of a working monitor could leave officials unaware of potentially dangerous levels of contamination, they added.” Folks, there are NO places where only a beta emitter is present as gamma radiation is everywhere. It’s what makes up cosmic radiation, radiation from the Sun among other things.

    WSJ‘s radiation explanation then expands into more completely false explanations which, naturally, lead to false conclusions. Check the next three sentences out with our critiques in [brackets]: “Gamma- and beta-emitting radionuclides can be carried by the wind long distances from a nuclear event, such as an explosion or power-plant accident [FALSE – gamma radiation is an energy, not a particle, and can’t be “carried by the wind]. Gamma rays from those radionuclides can then travel hundreds of feet or more and penetrate objects [FALSE – gamma travels huge distances, in the millions of miles, not hundreds of feet], including human tissue, according to federal government websites [Really? Which government websites exactly?]. Beta particles generally travel only several feet from their emission source [FALSE – beta particles radiate an inch or two out from the source at most but can be transported around the globe via air, dust and water]. While they can penetrate skin, their main health threat comes if inhaled or ingested in tainted food or water [True].”

    While EnviroReporter.com finds it tedious to critique the inaccurate work of other news media, this particular article demands further analysis due to our relationship to this very important subject. And, to be sure, the piece has some excellent information in it when not crippled by unsound science. For example this puzzler: “Officials said they don’t know why some beta monitors still work, including locations in Phoenix, Dallas, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.” We know why they still work – they are maintained properly and are switched on.

    Now even if the reporters aren’t radiation experts, surely they should have known that the following reported quote clearly doesn’t pass the smell test: ““We can confidently say that this system is fully capable now and fully operational now with the current monitors it has to detect fairly minute levels of radiation,” said Jonathan Edwards, director of the EPA’s radiation protection division.” But the article says that the beta monitors have been turned off – the import of the piece – so how could Edwards’ bold assertion not be called out? Reporting isn’t just serving up quotes; it’s also about analysis such as noting nonsense spun to cover screw ups.

    There’s unfortunately more. “EPA officials acknowledged that one major radionuclide—strontium-90, which can get into people’s bones—emits only beta particles. However, they said, an event releasing a large amount of strontium-90 would also release large amounts of gamma-emitting radionuclides that could be picked up.” How in the heck does that work? WSJ says Sr-90 “emits only beta particles” yet, with enough of it, it emits gamma? The fact is it is always emitting gamma in its atomic decay chain.

    At this point, it bears noting that the beta, not gamma, signatures of dangerous man-made radionuclides, like strontium-90 and cesium-137, are what tell us if there is something afoot in the air, like a triple meltdown in Japan or a dirty bomb attack in the United States. But even costing only $2 million for EPA “fixed” monitors, which include beta detecting machines, out of an $8.1 billion annual budget, means nothing to the agency according to the article. “Not having the beta monitor is absolutely not a concern of ours,” said John Griggs, director of the EPA’s National Analytical Radiation Environmental Laboratory. Wow.

    The rest of the article is accurate, and chillingly so. WSJ faithfully reports a number of convoluted EPA explanations why its radiation detection system is an abysmal failure yet is still world class. The article ends with “The EPA, in a response, said it remains “dedicated to protecting public health and the environment through the use of sound radiation science.””

    When there is no data, there is no science, sound or unsound. When the federal agency that is supposed to monitor for dangerous mostly beta radiation in a world that includes terrorist organizations dedicated to America’s destruction like ISIS blows off its responsibilities, people in charge of that agency should be shown the door. They won’t be, though, and RadNet will stay dark and America will remain beta blind.

    For two years, EnviroReporter.com was able to show you the barely functioning beta and gamma monitors of EPA’s RadNet so you would know what’s hot and what’s not. We apologize that you – and us – no longer have access to that life-saving information. Now at least you know why.

  5. To all who care about this issue – please sign the Rocketdyne Cleanup Coalition’s petition to make sure that ALL of the contamination at SSFL is cleaned up! http://www.rocketdynecleanupcoalition.org/sign-the-ssfl-cleanup-petition/

  6. I could write 100,000 words on the treacherous nature of the California Dept. of Toxic Substances Control. Suffice it to say that when Jerry Brown assumed office for his second go-round as Governor he appointed an ineffectual woman as DTSC Director. She was immediately romanced by California’s most dangerous and effective “polluter’s lawyer”, who was bagged by a California employees environmental group way back around 1990 dating the #2 in the Cal EPA. I’ve dealt with the guy twice since then. He’s the Darth Vader of environmental law. I found him representing Boeing in one of its latest public regulatory proceedings, making me sure he’s in the background.

    That lady was hounded out of office, so Governor Brown 2.0 appointed a “professional regulator” Barbara A. Lee, whose credentials for the job as DTSC Director are that “she previously served as air pollution control officer at the Northern Sonoma County Air Pollution Control District since 1996 [not a lot of air pollution there], where she was supervising air quality engineer from 1994 to 1996” She’s very pretty, so I’m sure Darth is pleased.

    As far as I can tell, despite Director Lee’s B.S. in Chemical Engineering from M.I.T, she has zero academic or field experience with radioactive contamination issues, zero experience with ground water contamination and little if any experience supervising remediation of soil contamination, which are the biggest issues at the Santa Susana Field Lab AND OFFSITE FROM IT.

    As to the Federal regulators involved in this latest greenwashing attempt, a view of the gentleman in charge, as shown on Part 1 of the NBC video, almost makes me turn Republican so I can send the video to the more harsh Republican Presidential candidates to exploit. I think that regulator got his B.A. in Drama.

    Fight on friends and neighbors. There’s nothing much else you can do when the government employees working on the Rocketdyne/SSFL nuclear, water and soil contamination issues are the moral equivalent of Bashir al Assad of Syria, who collected chemical and biological weapons as a hobby.

  7. 😐 What about those who have not died of cancer, but who have suffered from this?

    I believe I am one of those, lucky ones so to speak, who did not die. However, it changed my life. The hard part was not knowing why for so long.

    In the early 80’s (1981/1982) my friend and I would ride our dirt bikes, motorcycles, in the hills of Simi Valley. One day we came upon a building tucked in behind the hills. I remember stating to my friend that the building looked like a secret government facility. We laughed. About that time a jeep approached us. We decided not to hang around and took off. Kicking up dust as we got chased by the jeep. We would go out every couple of weeks. Getting chased by the jeeps seemed like a fun game to us.

    I became horribly ill in 1987. My riding buddy died in 1994 of intestinal cancer.

    I realize there is probably no way to prove that my health issues were a direct result of riding through that contaminated dust, but I know. My gut knows!

    The reason I am stating this is because the ‘debate/focus’ about radioactive contamination usually revolves around ‘cancer’ deaths. But what about those who have suffered from this? Do we not get counted? Maybe somebody could ask that question for me at the next meeting.

    If ‘X’ number of people got cancer, then ‘how many’ just got sick and suffered. (broken immune systems) How many lives were destroyed? I would say the number is much higher than those who have died from all of this, but there is no way to count us at this point. How many thousands of us are there? (were there) How many don’t have a clue and never will? That’s the sad part to me. 😥

    “We shall never surrender!”
    — House of Commons, 4 June 1940 – Winston Churchill

    Thanks EnviroReporter.com

  8. Thank you Michael for this excellent piece. The community isn’t stupid. We know the ATSDR report is simply intended to deny health effects and aide the polluters in getting out of the cleanup. It’s tragic for those of us who live near the site to listen to the DTSC lie to the public that they don’t know of any offsite contamination. They have read the scores of reports showing the offsite toxins but somehow insist that the stuff has never washed down the hill, that the wind has never blown, that there has never been a fire which has had ash and smoke fall down on the community and worst of all during the nuclear meltdown the employees didn’t vent the radioactive gasses out over the community. And I agree with “simi mom” below – It is nauseating how the DTSC can sanction the CAG when it aggressively fights the cleanup promises made the DTSC. Let’s get this place cleaned up now and stop the ridiculous delays.

  9. Thank you Michael Collins for explaining to the public, in detail, how the ever-so-delayed cleanup get’s derailed by groups and individuals who claim to be a community voice, yet are contractors for the polluters themselves. We have health studies that conclude the risks of living near a facility, now we need source removal to reduce the health risks, not risk assessment.

    William Preston Bowling – Founder ACME (Aerospace Contamination Museum of Education)

  10. I want to add that there is a similar delay scenario going on over cleanup of leaking rad containers at Idaho’s INL lab. The buried inadequate containers are leaking into the aquifer that drains into the Snake River in eastern ID. This state has a deal with the DOE signed by two former governors that no new transuranic waste will be accepted by Idaho until the INL waste containers draining into the aquifer are cleaned up. The agreement says “ALL” of the waste, not part of it. Government agencies involved have been dragging their feet over it, an accident at the INL slowed down the cleanup, and now Idaho is being pressured to take on a “small” part of transuranic waste unstorable where it was created. Ironically the final destination of this new rad after treatment at INL would be WIPP!!! WIPP is no more. An accident happened there and it’s closed. (See online for details.)
    The current Governor is all for abrogating Idaho’s prior agreement.. Few months ago this was a big fight until the two former governors got the AG to agree to removal of ALL waste stored on INL territory before any new rad was stored here. In other words, the AG said the prior agreement had to be honored. I expect more delays.

  11. Hi I survived 4 different CANCERS ,proven by UCLA, Also was number 1
    witness against them in Cappelo case, at one meeting I shocked my
    attorneys and there’s I told them I had friends who fathers worked on
    the hill , well both of there family’s had full equipped bomb shelters
    full of food and supplies, the air raid sirens would go off, this was
    a sign that there was another accident on the hill,all important
    people know when that siren went off go into bomb shelter so you would
    be safe, and don’t come out until the air raid sirens went off again,
    my friends would say they went on a trip, I had not told my attorneys
    before that , theres and boeings attorneys jaws were on the floor like
    I had found the HOLY GRAIL, I also still have a milk bottle from the
    JACAPUZI dairy sorry for miss spelling, with residue still in it they
    did not want that to be shown in evidence , also remembered when the
    day turned into night ,where one accident was so bad it turned day
    into night , so pissed that JUDGE SOLD OUT OUR ATTORNEYS SOLD OUT AND
    NOTHING WAS TOLD

  12. This article has so much disturbing information I don’t know where to start. The graphic says it all – the deadly government hand is gambling with our lives. It makes me sick!

    I can’t believe that DTSC has sanctioned the SSFL CAG that will not disclose such a large financial contribution. Whoever pays for something owns it, the public has a right to know who owns a group that waves around its government sanction in an effort to appear credible. Of course since the CAG states there are no health impacts from SSFL and there should be almost no cleanup it already doesn’t have credibility. People aren’t that stupid.

    People also get that ATSDR working in tandem with a small marginalized astroturf group can mean only one thing – whatever ATSDR does will be geared also toward denying health impacts and against cleanup. I am with RCC – ATSDR SHOULD STAY OUT OF OUR COMMUNITY. We have health studies and cleanup agreements, ATSDR should not interfere it should just go away.

    As for Ms. Rowe, the idea that she doesn’t want people to think their cancers came from SSFL because then there won’t be examination of other environmental pollution – that is the sickest version of “nothing to see here, move along” I ever heard. Sure. Look over there, there, there – everywhere but that giant radioactive and chemically polluted mountain in your backyard. This is the same person who waves around Dr. Thomas Mack, though he’s the industry go-to guy for denying health impacts from ANY environmental source. He says only one environmentally-related cancer cluster in the whole country! We are to believe him, or her, for that matter?

    By the way not all suburban residential cleanup levels are the same. Boeing’s version will result in 98% of the contamination not being cleaned up! So it’s no coincidence that’s what EPA recommended to NASA,. Oh, by the way ATSDR works out of EPA offices, and DOE is in bed with ATSDR too. See the picture? Government agencies looking out for each other, save each other money and screw the people.

    But there is always one in every crowd, that contrarian who yearns for attention and will say anything to get it. No meltdown, no health impacts, no cleanup. Truly with these types, there is nothing to see here just move along. If there is anyone with a conscience in the government who is paying attention to SSFL, I say ignore the din of corruption, egos and stupidity and just help us get the damn site cleaned up – ALL the way up.

  13. Michael, you have given us another amazing and accurately detailed article, underlining the sad fact that we simply cannot trust with our lives our Government agencies. who are supposed to be concerned with our health and environment, but are, in reality, shifty, dishonest and primarily concerned with MONEY. And just to think that a number of community members who stand to ingest the SSFL contamination along with the rest of us just don’t seem to “get” it. Why in the world would anyone want to leave most of the radionuclides and toxic chemical in the soil? Don’t these leave-it-in-the soil folks have kids……kids who need their parents to stay healthy in order to take care of them? Don’t they value their own lives and health? Does patting the polluters on the head and allowing them to get away with a tragic lack of cleanup somehow profit them personally? I cannot possibly imagine how!
    Why would anyone who has an opportunity to insist that the polluters toe the line allow them to get away, literally, with murder? Are any folks in the community finding that supporting the Boeing Corporation is profitable? If so, I wonder if they can stand the light of day of an intensive investigation.
    Personally, I will continue to support an full and honest cleanup of the SSFL, and I will just hope to live long enough to see it happen.

  14. Thank you Michael for your excellent report. I appreciate your reporting on this important subject.

  15. I want to add here my total disgust that the rad air-monitoring graphs that Michael’s website have been offering for various states and cities have just been blocked off, removed, destroyed……….by the government. Who did it? DOE? NRC? one of the other useless nuke agencies? These graphics were replaced by a totally disorganized confusing format that even a smart chimp could not unravel. Talk about keeping citizens informed? What a farce!
    What next so far as nuke and rad info goes? Every citizen should think this farce over and give some thought to organizing opposition to the powers of nuke over our health and safety.

  16. Dear Michael,

    I am not sure if you “framed” what I said exactly correctly, and I always do want to be accurate. What I did mention, what I do recall was that I said that I had written a paper on teratogens.

    http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=11315

    “Teratogen: Any agent that can disturb the development of an embryo or fetus. Teratogens may cause a birth defect in the child. Or a teratogen may halt the pregnancy outright. The classes of teratogens include radiation, maternal infections, chemicals, and drugs.”

    I did say that my son had to go – not only to UCLA weekly for treatment, but later, his doctor moved to Children’s Hospital, so he went there as well.

    And yes, I did have cancer – a rare cancer that is found in 3 to 10 per million in the United States. It is the same type of cancer that Steve Jobs died of just about three weeks after I was released from the hospital.

    And yes, I did state, we cannot know what in our lifetimes causes cancer except in very few instances.

    The parents of these children asked DTSC for help as to whom to contact regarding these cancers.

    What you do not know is that I contacted the appropriate agencies the following day after the DTSC meeting, and I gave the information to DTSC on who the parents of the children with cancer need to contact for assistance so that DTSC can give that contact information to the parents.

    I did research neuroblastoma causes.

    http://www.cancer.org/cancer/neuroblastoma/detailedguide/neuroblastoma-what-causes
    “Do we know what causes neuroblastoma?
    The causes of most neuroblastomas are not known. But researchers have found important differences between neuroblastoma cells and the normal neuroblasts (early forms of nerve cells) from which they develop. They have also found differences between neuroblastomas that are likely to respond to treatment and those that have a poor prognosis (outlook). These differences (known as prognostic markers) are sometimes helpful in choosing the best treatment.”

    “Researchers have found some of the gene changes that may lead to neuroblastoma, but it’s still not clear what causes these changes. Some gene changes may be inherited. Some might have unknown outside causes, but others may just be random events that sometimes happen inside a cell, without having an outside cause. There are no known lifestyle-related or environmental causes of neuroblastomas at this time, so it’s important to remember that there is nothing these children or their parents could have done to prevent these cancers.”

    What I believe is that if people all believe that the causes of all of the illnesses in my community are derived from the SSFL site, they will not look for and potentially remove other potential carcinogens from their environment.

    There are potential carcinogens in our home environments, our foods, our medications, our children’s toys, and in our clothing. By focusing on just one potential source of cancer, the parents are not being told to look at what other things they or their children were exposed to.

    Just so that you do not lump me into your grouping of who doesn’t want this site cleaned up, please be clear: I have requested that the remaining structures in AREA IV be characterized, that we be told how they are going to remove those facilities safely, and that I would like to see the radionuclides in AREA IV cleaned up to Background as a first priority after those remaining structures are gone.

    The recommendation to clean radionuclides to background and to clean the chemical contamination on the site based upon risk is from an EPA letter to NASA for their Draft Environmental Impact Statement. I support that approach to the site – I want a risk based cleanup for the whole SSFL site for chemicals to the suburban residential standard. This is not the approach of most people in our community.

    Let’s see if you post this.

  17. The outrageous delay tactics in cleanup of rad contamination can be exploited indefinitely by a government controlled by big money, and the nukers have lots of it thanks to their connection to the war industries and agencies. Michael Collins is right on the mark here. He’s our only source of real facts when nukes and radioactive pollution are concerned. Amazing how easily nearby homeowners can be bought off, their children are probably elsewhere than in this zone……….”not my concerners” dominate so much of our environmental problems here and elsewhere. It seems that all government agencies have been bought by special interests, as well. Sen. Bernie Sanders has the only viable program for significant change.

  18. The Federal ATDSR is obviously in the hands of pro-nuke shills. Investors and nuke owners have managed to capture it. They are shameless. They will buy ANYONE to continue peddling the story that “nukes are great.” All that pent-up investor money’s got to go somewhere, and nuclear plants would be a good investment… if they weren’t such potent sources of poison.

  19. The SSFL contamination problem exists, is well documented, and has been agreed to be cleaned up by the responsible parties. And, still they keep on talking, and trying to redefine the meaning of what has already been properly researched and agreed to. We know the half-life of the radioactive contaminates present at SSFL, but do we know the half-life of the tactics now being employed to obfuscate that research and delay the cleanup efforts? No we do not. A childhood cancer cluster near the SSFL should alarm everyone and motivate all parties to expedite the site cleanup. Yet we have only further delays. What is more important, money or lives? The answer to that question is coming through loud and clear. I want to thank Michael Collins for his excellent articles on SSFL. It is my hope that pressure can be applied to bring progress on the cleanup of SSFL. Michael Collins is shining a light on where the problem lies. Can government agencys act to protect public safety, or do they serve only special interests trying to protect their money and future development plans?

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