From psrsm@igc.apc.org Mon Sep 15 17:40:34 1997
Date: Fri, 12 Sep 1997 14:30:12 -0700 (PDT)
From: Jonathan Parfrey - psrsm@igc.apc.org
To: cbglyou@aol.com, cbghirsch@aol.com
Cc: NUKENET@envirolink.org
Subject: Low Level Radiation Study * AP item * Santa Susana-Rocketdyne study

NukeNet readers:

Low doses of radiation have, in a new UCLA study, been proven to kill

A landmark epidemiological study has recently been released on the
DOE/Rocketdyne facility at Santa Susana near Los Angeles. Cancer deaths 
were more strongly linked to radiation exposure than found in previous 

The study's Oversight Panel identified:

*  Cancer deaths were attributable to doses substantially **below** U.S.

*  The risk of "low-dose" radiation was at least 6 to 8 times greater than
risks previously assumed.

*  Older adults are more at risk from radiation for all cancers.

The Oversight Panel has thus recommended:

*  Current limits for radiation exposure be reconsidered by all regulatory
and advisory bodies responsible for radiation protection.

*  Regulators should take age into consideration when establishing new
standards of exposure.

The grassroots effort that achieved the DOE-funded study--and the subsequent
flood of news coverage--could be replicated in other areas. 

For more information, contact: 

Physicians for Social Responsibility, Los Angeles
Committee to Bridge the Gap, 

Jonathan Parfrey
Executive Director
Physicians for Social Responsibility, Los Angeles


September 12, 1997

Nuclear Workers Document on Cancer

c The Associated Press

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. (AP) - Nearly a third of nuclear workers who have died
since being exposed to doses of radiation deemed safe by the government at a
rocket engine testing facility died from cancer, according to a study
released Thursday. 

The study, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, found workers exposed to
low doses of radiation had a cancer risk of at least six to eight times
greater than previous studies had found, researchers said. 

The workers were employed at Rocketdyne's Santa Susana Field Laboratory in
the hills between the west end of the San Fernando Valley and Simi Valley. 

Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles reviewed medical
and personnel records for 4,563 employees monitored for radiation between
1950 and 1993. Researchers didn't examine the employees. 

Researchers said 875 workers exposed to external radiation at the plant have
died, with 258 of those deaths attributable to cancer. Workers exposed to
internal radiation suffered a similar proportion - cancer caused 134 of the
441 deaths. 

External radiation consists of exposures such as X-rays, while internal
radiation is the ingestion, inhalation or absorption of substances such as

``We found that these occupational radiation exposures were more strongly
linked to cancer deaths than has been found in several earlier studies,
including those that have examined survivors of radiation from atomic
bombs,'' said Beate Ritz, one of the UCLA investigators. 

Steve Lafflam, a Rocketdyne official, noted Rocketdyne has never exposed its
employees to radiation levels above the national limit. 

National regulations prohibit plants from exposing workers to more than 50
millisieverts of radiation per year, which is the equivalent of about 500
chest X-rays. The typical chest X-ray delivers about 0.1 mSv of radiation. 

The UCLA researchers claim some of the workers who died of cancer were
exposed to radiation far below the national standard. 

The facility tested rocket engines for moon shots and space shuttles.
Rocketdyne officials say they have been out of the nuclear business since
1989. The facility is now owned by Boeing North American Inc. 

Researchers claim that nuclear workers tend to be healthier than average,
and thus their death rates cannot be compared to the general population. 

Hal Morgenstern, a UCLA epidemiologist who served as chief investigator,
said it would be difficult to replicate the study among community members. 

A federal lawsuit is pending against Boeing by residents who claim the test
site polluted their community and caused cancers. 

AP-NY-09-12-97 0455EDT
Jonathan Parfrey, Executive Director

Physicians for Social Responsibility, Los Angeles
1316 Third Street Promenade, Suite B1
Santa Monica, California 90401-1325
* 310.458.2694/phone 
* 310.458.7925/fax 
* psrsm@psr.org 
* www.labridge.com/psr/