Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL)



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In 1989, press reports revealed an internal U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) study that found widespread radioactive and chemical contamination at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory. Legislators, responding to community calls for independent health studies in the wake of revelations about the site, arranged for the establishment of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory Advisory Panel, to consist of independent experts from around the country (and one from Britain) as well as community representatives. The legislators directed that the initial studies should be of the workers, as they were likely to have higher exposures.

The legislators who established the Panel had directed – and the Panel had committed to the community – that if the worker studies came back with positive findings, the Panel would turn its attention to studying potential impacts on the community, including the feasibility of performing an epidemiological study.

The UCLA researchers’ radiation study was released in 1997 and found that exposure of SSFL workers to external radiation was associated with an elevated rate of dying from cancers of the blood and lymph systems and from lung cancer; death rates for all cancers and for “radiosensitive” solid cancers were found to increase as external radiation dose increased; and exposure to internal radiation emitters similarly resulted in increased rates of dying from cancers of blood and lymph systems and cancers of the upper aero-digestive tract. The researchers found these effects arising from doses well below those permitted by current regulations. They found radiation risks about 6-8 times higher than those generally extrapolated from A-bomb survivor data, and they found that cancer rates were impacted more by radiation that workers received at older than at younger ages.

Upon release of this 1997 study and of the rocket testing workers in 1999, the Panel’s work was re-directed to studying possible offsite effects/community impacts of SSFL.

This is a report summarizing the panel's next phase of work and the resulting research.

This research was completed money allocated during Round 2 of the Citizens’ Monitoring and Technical Assessment Fund (MTA Fund). Clark University was named conservator of these works.

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Santa Susana Field Laboratory




nuclear weapons, nuclear weapons testing, environment, non-governmental organizations, United States Department of Energy, tribal governments, environmental cleanup, radioactive fallout, radioactive waste


Copyright belongs to the authors. Clark University was chosen by the non-profit peace and environmental groups as the conservator of these reports; our right to distribute these works ensures they remain available to the public in perpetuity as intended. Reuse at your own discretion with with due deference to copyright holders.


Santa Cruz, CA

Report of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory Advisory Panel



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