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Momof3, Home Buyer in Oak Park, CA

How much credence to give reported concerns of higher cancer risks due to Rocketdyne/Boeing history in Oak Park, California?

Asked by Momof3, Oak Park, CA Thu Dec 3, 2009

My family is interested in moving to Oak Park, California due to the beautiful area and fantastic schools but have hesitated after reading about some residents concerns regarding the cancer risk from the nearby Rocketdyne/Boeing Santa Susana Field Lab. Should we be concerned?

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Roy Hooper’s answer
I wonder how many people are aware that the biggest nuclear explosion accident in the US happened at Rocketdyne in the late 50s? That's why it's not safe to live in that entire area. It will take at least 300 years for the contaminated soil to even become close to safe.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 23, 2012
Hi, do you have any updated info about the safety in the area now?
Pls email
Flag Sat Jan 19, 2013

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.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 3, 2009

If it's at all a concern for you, you could always live nearby and petition in to go to Oak Park schools. You don't need to live there in order to go to their schools.
If you need help at all or have any questions, feel free to email me:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 29, 2014
As a long term Oak Park resident, We have been watching this subject closely. But we have seen no conclusive studies of any greater health risks, due to the proximity to the Santa Susana facility.

On the other hand, the top schools, the low crime, and proximity to Malibu beaches make this community very attractive and still a great bargain. Many families from surrounding Simi Valley, West Hills, and Thousand Oaks have car pools to bring their children to the Oak Park schools. Oak Park High just placed in the top 25 of California public high schools, according to Newsweek. We are very lucky, indeed. contact me if you have any further questions or concerns. James A Ebert Berkshire Hathaway Realtor:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 24, 2014
Hi, do you have any updated info about the safety in the area now?

We started looking at bell canyon....
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 19, 2013
HiI've lived in Bell Canyon for 19 years, I've had two separate reports done from the Tri-County regional cancer registry. Both reports for track 75.03 in Ventura County which includes my neighborhood in Bell Canyon concludes, based on the analysis my neighborhood is at no higher risk to be diagnosed with cancer compared to the rest of the Tri-County region. That report was 1999. The next report was 2006, they saw 14 additional cases over a 17 year period due to the aging population the conclusion was in census tracts 75.03 in Ventura County the neighborhood does not show any unusual pattern and has actually decreased by 7.5 from 1988 to 2004.just what like to say a little education in this department goes a long way. There is also a study that was done by agency for toxic substances they also concluded that Bell Canyon is that no higher risk. Just want to get the true facts of their all of these studies can be looked up... It's a slice of heaven in Bell Canyon love it here.
Flag Thu Aug 14, 2014
If you're concerned, Bell Canyon is CLOSER to the SSFL than Oak Park - they have not proved that Oak Park has any greater incidence than the general area.....I wouldn't give it any significant thought....we've lived there for 19 years and it's an AMAZING place to live...
If anything, I would stay away from Bell Canyon as that area is almost immediately adjacent to the SSFL testing area, whereas Oak Park is 3-5 miles away....
Flag Tue Feb 19, 2013
We're curious what you decided to do after doing your due diligence/research -- did you decide to settle into Oak Park over the past year?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 17, 2010
I agree with my collegue Bonnie Sterling.
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 6, 2010
Hi Mom of 3,

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!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 3, 2010
Hi Mom of 3,
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
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 26, 2009
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