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Rocketdyne and Cancer Studies

Thank you for your editorial demanding that the Centers for Disease Control [and Prevention] finally find out the truth of how radiation from Rocketdyne’s lab in Santa Susana may have caused an increase in cancer rates in the San Fernando Valley.

My darling, healthy son who was an athlete and was very health-conscious died in November of a malignant brain tumor--the most virulent type of cancer. Within days of the discovery he was left almost blind, a paraplegic and unable to communicate. Bobby never smoked, drank, never did drugs and stayed away from sugar and caffeine. He left two small children, one of whom at 2 years of age came down with leukemia.

Science knows not what causes the genes to mutate and become cancerous. But they do know with certainty that increased radiation exposure is a humongous carcinogen. I can date my family back for many generations on both sides and can find no one who had cancer. But we live in Chatsworth, probably less than five miles as the crow flies from Rocketdyne’s facility where [there was] a secret meltdown of one of their nuclear reactors. They dumped nuclear waste with toxic chemicals in a dump that will be dangerous for thousands of years.

These are just a few of the derelict, uncaring paths they took. Yet the Feds are reluctant to study the West Valley population to see if there is a greater incidence of cancer in the region than can be expected. You don’t suppose that these requisite studies of citizens in a highly populated community are not being done by the responsible parties because of probable lawsuits? There are some people who have become convinced that our government is now an enemy of the people. How sad!

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Excusing their excesses and public endangerment, the Atomic Energy Commission and the Department of Energy called this work “defense” against a perceived enemy. But the real enemy was out-of-control government agencies and secrecy. Bemoan the fact that our once-open society is no more. One cannot have a democracy and a representative form of government without a free press, and all of the above was hidden from the press and the people.

ARLINE MATHEWS, Chatsworth


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