Contamination critical mass

first_imgTwo studies released last week looking at cancer rates close to the Santa Susana Field Laboratory provide the strongest evidence so far that the toxic chemicals and materials used for decades on the site might be harmful to neighbors. Separate studies by the University of California, Los Angeles, and by the University of Michigan found that residents living near the former nuclear and rocket fuel research site have elevated incidences of nearly all types of cancer, with even higher occurrences of melanoma and bladder cancers. Worse, a UCLA researcher said last week that the study found a “migration” of contamination, that chemicals from the site are spreading out, getting into the air, the ground and the water. While the biggest risk likely occurred to residents between the 1950s and 1970s, the researcher said, this migration means that current neighbors of the site as far away as two miles are still at danger from contaminated soil and groundwater. The studies don’t necessarily constitute a smoking gun. Indeed, there generally isn’t one in cases involving environmental contamination. Rather, it’s the gathering of supportive data to a certain critical mass that points to a singular conclusion. These extensive studies in addition to years of other evidence have brought us to this point. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card Since the Daily News nearly two decades ago revealed contamination of extremely toxic dioxins, mercury and other heavy metals at the site formerly owned by Rocketdyne, there have been piles of worrisome data accumulating. Two earlier studies of workers at the site who handled radiation had higher cancer rates than the general public. As well, current owner Boeing has received about 50 violations for allowing contaminated runoff affecting the Los Angeles River or Arroyo Simi. In December, a Grand Jury seized records pertaining to how runoff is monitored for contamination at the site. It’s way too late for anyone to claim that the former research site isn’t a toxic danger. The question now must be: What to do to limit any future danger? The time for studies, for violations, for fines, for hand-wringing, for wondering whether the site is unsafe are over. It’s time authorities force a cleanup of the former laboratory, which they owe to the neighbors of the site who have been exposed for years. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img