A testing facility is located in the Santa Susana Mountains between Chatsworth and Simi Valley. The U.S. Department of Energy has indicated that radioactive materials and industrial solvents are present on this site, which is in the process of cleanup. A 1997 study report indicates that workers exposed to radiation at the Rocketdyne facility might be at an increased health risk and a lawsuit has been filed alleging that the Rocketdyne facility has caused environmental contamination beyond the site. For further information, contact the U.S. Department of Energy, San Francisco, CA or your appropriate State or Federal legislator.
Also, please Google search: Boeing Rocketdyne Santa Susana Facility.
If I were representing a "mom of 3" I would steer clear of the area, if it was determined that "Oak Park" is, in fact, affected by the potential contamination.
I live in Simi, probably closer to the Rocketdyne boeing affected area than you would in Oak Park. I did not know about this when I moved here or started a family. It was pretty significant at the time that it occured and I have paused for consideration about how it will affect my family. But I suppose, from what I have seen, there are people more at risk and then there is exposure. My husbands family has lived in close proximity, on the South Side of Simi most of his life and he has too, even now, he just never moved far. There is very little incidence of cancer in his family and yet he lived here when there was considerably more exposure and he was even a kid wandering around unknowingly on that facility to hike. Then, I have a lot of older neighbors who are have died cancer related death and they lived in my neighborhood during the times of more exposure. Others have been here and been unaffected.
As a Mom of 2, I dont know if I would make the decision to live where I live again. But, I also wouldnt choose to live near a freeway anymore or a busy street. With age hopefully comes some wisdom. There is a disclosure about this most local real estate brokerages require that you will sign because it is considered enough of an issue that people need to make an informed decision. Most of the areas in the affected zone are just lovely family communities. It is a tough choice. Do your research and follow your own "intuition". You will be miserable if you try to do anything else. Good Luck!
Besides being a realtor, I am also a mom. We moved to this area six years ago for the exact same reasons that you find it appealing. Spectacular schools (did you know that Oak Park High School was just awarded a silver medal by USA Today? Out of over 20,000 US High Schools, Oak Park High ranked in the top 500. That is truly spectacular!) and parks, parks, parks. Plus it has a small town feel - we all know what the kids are up to and it's close to Malibu and we like that too.
As a mom and resident I completely appreciate your concerns about cancer. According to an article in the Acorn about the issue," In California, statistics show that 45 percent of all men and 41 percent of women will develop cancer sometime in their lives." That's pretty alarming! But take a look at this quote from the same article "Kathleen Horton, a cancer program manager at Ventura's Community Memorial Hospital, agreed the incidence of cancer in Oak Park has been "high."
But, as Horton says, "It takes many years to prove that numbers are higher in one area. It has to be that way for 10 years before they'll say yes the numbers are higher."
Horton previously headed the Tri-Counties Regional Cancer Registry that tracks cancer cases in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. California law requires hospitals and health care providers to report every cancer diagnosis made to the state cancer registry.
Between 19962006 the number of cases of breast cancer (123) and invasive melanoma (38) in Oak Park exceeded what might normally be expected for a community that size, said Monica Brown, a cancer registry epidemiologist. But given Oak Park's location and demographics, the findings were not surprising, Brown said.
"Upper middle class neighborhoods tend to have higher rates of certain cancers like breast cancer," Brown said. "Women put off child-bearing, which is a risk factor for breast cancer."
The truth is there may be some connection to the Santa Susana Field Lab and there may not be. Only you can do the research and determine your comfort level. I can only tell you that we are happy here and that moving here was the best thing we ever did for our son.
Check out the most recent testing done this year