Melissa Bumstead, West Hills resident, presents on pediatric cancers near the Santa Susana Field Laboratory at the March 8, 2017 meeting of the SSFL Work Group.

against the odds

Our community is riddled with incredibly rare cancers, rare even in the rare world of childhood cancer. The majority of childhood cancers are not inherited from their family's genetics, nor are they the result of the child's poor lifestyle choices as is the case with lung or liver cancers. The diversity of pediatric cancer diagnoses correlates with the range of nuclear and carcinogenic waste on site, as documented by the 2007 EPA and 2012 EPA SSFL Reports.

An optic pathway Hypothalamic glioma (also called an optic nerve glioma) is a slow-growing brain tumor that arises in or around the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain. There are 25 cases of this cancer in America every year. We have two children in West Hills who were diagnosed with it in 2013. The children were next-door neighbors but only one survived. 

There are about 200 new cases of pediatric Ewings Sarcoma every year in America. We have two teenagers, from the same high school, diagnosed in 2016 within months of each other. That's 2.0% of America's total Ewing Sarcoma population, even though our entire community makes up only 0.31% of America's population.

About 350 children are diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma each year, out of 73 million children in America. Five children in our community have been diagnosed with it within the last three years. Our community also appears to have a higher rate of pediatric brain tumors and exceedingly rare forms of Leukemia and per-cancers such as Langerhans cell histiocytosis. 

In our research we've discovered that our hypothesis was backed up by EPI and EPA reports that show higher than average adult cancer rates in our community. A federally funded EPI report conducted by the University of Michigan found that residents living within two miles of the site had a 60% higher cancer incident rate. A $1.6 million UCLA study determined that 4,563 site workers  had increased risks of dying from cancers. The California Breast Cancer Mapping Project found the surrounding area had a 10-20% higher incident rate of invasive breast cancer, compared to the rest of California. 

The contamination has the potential to migrate offsite, as documented by Dr. Cohen of UCLA. The dots have been connected and all point back to the Santa Susana Field Lab's nuclear and toxic waste.