Cancer Incidence in the Community Surrounding the Rocketdyne Facility in Southern California
This March 2007 University of Michigan study elevated incidence of cancer in the community surrounding SSFL. It was misconstrued by Boeing, as part of its lawsuit against the State, forcing author Hal Morgenstern to write a letter to Senator Simitian on April 17, 2007 stating, “Boeing’s assertion that we found no increased cancer rates in the communities surrounding SSFL is false. We did, in fact, find increased incidence rates of certain cancers associated with proximity to the facility, the significance of which would require further research.”
Potential for Offsite Exposures Associated with Santa Susana Field Laboratory
This February 2006 UCLA research study on potential exposure pathways investigated how contaminants might migrate from the Santa Susana Field laboratory to nearby communities. The study was headed by Dr. Yoram Cohen, Professor of Chemical Engineering and Director of the UCLA Center for Environmental Risk Reduction.
Report of the Advisory Panel Co-chairs summarizing the worker chemical study
Dozens of different hazardous chemicals were used at various times at the site, but because of resource limitations and problems obtaining access to data regarding chemical exposures, the researchers focused primarily on hydrazines used at rocket-engine test stands.
Report of the Advisory Panel summarizing the worker radiation study
The primary question the study was designed to answer was whether workers at Rocketdyne/AI’s nuclear sites have experienced excess deaths from cancer associated with their work-related exposures to radiation. The answer is yes.
UCLA Rocketdyne Chemical Study – January 1999
UCLA found that Rocketdyne workers who had high hydrazine exposures were about twice as likely as other Rocketdyne employees who worked at the site to die from lung and other cancers.
UCLA Rocketdyne Radiation Study – September 1997
$1.6 million UCLA study to determine the health effects on 4,563 Rocketdyne workers. “All available evidence from this study indicates that occupational exposure to ionizing radiation among nuclear workers at Rocketdyne/AI has increased the risk of dying from cancers,” wrote Dr. Hal Morganstern, director of the UCLA study. “We found the effect of radiation exposure was six to eight times greater in our study than extrapolated from the results of the A-bomb survivors study.”
CONTAMINATION REPORTS AND STUDIES
2012 EPA Radiological Survey, EPA Radiological Background Study and accompanying statistical appendix
In 2012, the EPA announced the results of it’s radiological survey of SSFL. It found 291 soil samples with Cesium-137 contamination, at levels up to 1,000 times background and far above EPA’s remediation goals for unrestricted use. Cesium is a powerful emitter of gamma radiation and can cause cancer in any organ. In addition, 153 samples had strontium-90 contamination, at levels up to 284 times background. also far above EPA’s unrestricted remediation goals. Stontium-90 concentrates in bone, where it can cause bone cancer and leukemia. Both strontium and cesium have half-lives of about 30 years.
DTSC Memo Regarding TCE
This April 5, 2010 Department of Toxic Substances Control memo to Boeing points out that TCE was first found in wells at Rocketdyne in 1960, not 1984 like other reports suggest. DTSC says that injecting imported water into SSFL groundwater wells, as well as dumping waste water into leach pits, could make the department rethink its conceptualization of the TCE in groundwater at Rocketdyne. Department orders Boeing to take new information and come up with new conclusions in the company’s analysis.
Preliminary Assessment – Site Inspection Report
This November 30, 2007 U.S. EPA Preliminary Assessment-Site Inspection Report of Rocketdyne is 6.43 MB and 52 pages long and an excellent primer on the pollution problems of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory. “Multiple operations at the SSFL over the last six decades have resulted in the contamination of surface and subsurface environmental media by various hazardous substances,” the report notes. “Extensive use of the most predominant hazardous substance at the site, trichloroethylene (TCE), has impacted the groundwater beneath the site. Several TCE plumes exist at Santa Susana Field Laboratory PA/SI Report 2 throughout the site. Drinking water wells at the site were contaminated with TCE and shut down after workers were exposed to TCE concentrations above Federal and State limits.”
Work Plan Phase 2 Groundwater Site Conceptual Model
The March 2007 “Work Plan Phase 2 Groundwater Site Conceptual Model” by MWH for the Responsible Parties Boeing, NASA and the DOE. “[T]his work plan presents an approach for obtaining field data to be used in evaluating the plume attenuation aspects of the groundwater site conceptual model,” the report reads. “Previous environmental investigations have shown that the Chatsworth formation beneath the SSFL has been impacted by historic releases of various chemicals of potential concern (COPCs) from operational activities. Trichloroethene (TCE) is the compound detected at the highest concentration and with the greatest frequency.”
Radioactive Contamination of Water at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory
This April 2006 report by Committee to Bridge the Gap was presented to the SSFL InterAgency Work Group Community Meeting in Simi Valley. The report zeroes in on radioactive tritium, or “heavy water,” which moves through water faster than any other radionuclide and can’t be filtered out. “Tritium found now at 119,000 pCi/L is SIX times the permissible level and 20,000 times background,” the report says. CBG also shows that gross alpha radiation has impacted 15 groundwater wells, all but one in nuclear-associated Area IV, and that strontium-90 was found leaving Outfall 003 on April 28, 2005 at a concentration over the Maximum Contaminant Level. Outfall 003 drains down into the Brandeis-Bardin Campus at American Jewish University in eastern Simi Valley.
Two Mile Testing Requirement
This testing requirement, introduced by Linda Parks, Supervisor of the Second Ventura County District on April 27, 2004 proposed to“[R]equire proposed developments located within a 2-mile radius of a present or former rocket test site to perform soil and water tests for perchlorate and trichloroethylene (TCE), among other contaminants and substances as a part of the Initial Study Assessment phase of CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act). This testing requirement would apply to those projects that go through the normal CEQA review process.”
VCAPCD Permit Emissions Data
These 1993 to 1994 permit data from the Ventura County Air Pollution Control District show just what kind of chemicals Rocketdyne was allowed to burn up at the lab and how much. Trichloroethylene, monomethylhydrazine, and nitrogen tetraoxide (NTO), all extremely toxic chemicals. NTO used to form a red gaseous cloud upon ignition. Rocketdyne personnel would follow the “BFRC” (Big F*****g Red Cloud) around in a jeep with binoculars to track it – they wanted to confirm it didn’t float into a community below the lab.
SSFL Historical Volume – Area 1 Burn Pit
1981 Area I Burn Pit Profile done by SSFL Analytical Chemistry’s N. S. Fujikawa. This 65-page report, among other things, shows exactly where this burn pit was: right next to a drainage channel that leads eventually to the Los Angeles River.
The agreement with DOE will lead to the cleanup of Area 4, where the 1959 meltdown occurred.
The agreement with NASA will lead to the cleanup of Area 2 and part of Area 1, where the space agency conducted a great deal of rocket testing in the 20th century.