UCLA Collaborative Project
Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL) Public Health Initiative



The Epidemiologic Study Report is now available -- PDF

The Environmental Study Report is available at http://ssflreport.sytes.net/.

No public meetings to discuss the study findings have been scheduled at this time.


On February 2, 2006, Drs. Morgenstern and Cohen presented findings of their environmental and epidemiologic research studies to community members of Simi Valley at a Santa Susana Field Laboratory (Rocketdyne) Workgroup Meeting:

Environmental Study
Potential for Offsite Exposures Associated with Contaminants for Santa Susana Field Laboratory
presented by Yoram Cohen, Ph.D., M.A.Sc., B.A.Sc., Professor of Chemical Engineering, University of California, Los Angeles
Link to Environmental Study Report

Epidemiologic Study

Cancer Incidence Surrounding the Rocketdyne Facility in Southern California: Interim Report
presented by Hal Morgenstern, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Epidemiology, University of Michigan School of Public Health

Please check back to this page for study material.

Environmental Study
Dr. Yoram Cohen led a UCLA-based environmental engineering team that conducted a study to investigate how contaminants might migrate from the Santa Susana Field Laboratory to nearby communities and the potential for community exposures to these chemicals. While extensive media sampling has been conducted at SSFL for the past two decades, little attention has been paid to studying how contaminants might physically reach community members. This study allows better understand of how people may have been exposed.

The study team analyzed various exposure pathways in order to better understand how chemicals might have migrated away from the SSFL and the associated potential for exposure of residents in the SSFL area to chemicals and radiation. In order to understand what pathways are possible, scientists evaluated and analyzed available data and carried out model calculations (e.g., emission estimates, air dispersion modeling and dose estimates).

This Study Addresses:

  • Possible contaminants, exposure pathways, and hotspots of concern

What Study Cannot Address:

  • Cannot make conclusive claims about whether activities at SSFL "caused" health problems for community members

What Study Adds:

  • A greater understanding as to the potential impact of SSFL activities on community exposure to chemicals released from the SSFL.

Epidemiologic Study
Dr. Hal Morgenstern conducted an epidemiologic study of cancer incidence in the residential population surrounding the Santa Susana Field Laboratory. His analysis included data from the California Tumor Registry for Los Angeles and Ventura Counties for the 16-year period, 1988-2003.

What Study Provides:

  • Compares cancer incidence for regions less than 2 miles, between 2 and 5 miles, and more than 5 miles from SSFL.
  • Examines 6 cancer outcomes: total cancers; "radiosensitive" cancers; "chemosensitive" cancers; bladder, lung, breast, melanoma, colorectal, and lymphoppoetic cancers.

What Study Cannot Address:

  • Cannot make conclusive claims about whether activities at SSFL caused health problems for community members because of various methodologic limitations, e.g., instability of the population, lack of exposure data, and missing information on other cancer risk factors that might bias the results.

What Study Adds:

  • A quantitative description of whether, and to what extent, the incidence of cancer has been greater in the population living closer to SSFL, taking into consideration age, gender, and race/ethnicity.


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