2015-09-03 / Letters

Field lab cleanup should continue

We are a group of high school students advocating for full cleanup of Rocketdyne (Santa Susana Field Lab), as promised in legally binding agreements between the federal and state government.

Now someone has petitioned the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) to come into our community and advocate for breaking the agreement. This is outrageous.

Although ATSDR will not release the name of the one individual who petitioned for the study, it is clear who it is. He is not a community member concerned about health risks from the contamination at the site, but rather is a former site official close to Boeing, a corporation spending millions of dollars on lobbyists and PR to get out of the cleanup.

Elected officials and community members have for decades insisted that studies of the potential health impacts of the radioactive and chemical contamination be done by independent, credible scientific researchers.

Since the federal government is a party responsible for the contamination, it can’t be trusted to study whether its reckless environmental practices harmed people.

Several elected officials, including Sen. Feinstein, worked hard for the establishment of an independent oversight panel. They hired the UCLA School of Public Health, which found elevated death rates from cancers associated with the workers’ exposures.

In 2007 a University of Michigan study found a 60 percent higher incidence of key cancers in people living near the site compared to those who live farther away.

And a University of California team found toxic materials had migrated beyond the borders of the site at levels in excess of EPA limits.

These last two studies were paid for by ATSDR. Now someone with ties to the polluters has asked ATSDR to come in and repudiate these studies and try to block the cleanup.

The ATSDR is known for doing shoddy health reviews that find nothing wrong. It has no credibility. This would be a waste of taxpayer dollars.

The feds and their contractors contaminated the site and should stop playing games trying to get out of their promises to clean it up.

Davis Gortner
Thousand Oaks

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