Fear of cancer and illness related to chemical exposure from the former Aerojet Rocketdyne munitions factory and test site turned the clock back 17 years during a meeting Monday at Chino Hills Community Center.

Approximately 50 residents attended a presentation from the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) about the upcoming removal of munitions and explosives at the end of Woodview Road, south of Peyton Drive.

Khader Hamide of Carbon Canyon said he was worried about cancer clusters, the spread of chemicals from testing munitions, and depleted uranium.

The testimonies could have been a repeat of a meeting held in 1999 when residents expressed fears that resulted in a cancer study. That year, Dr. John Morgan, a cancer epidemiologist with Loma Linda University Medical Center Cancer Institute conducted the study in cooperation with Region 5 of the California Cancer Registry.

The study revealed no excesses or increases in the numbers of cancers for Chino Hills.

At Monday’s meeting, Roman Racca of the DTSC said Aerojet conducted controlled testing of munitions that were fired into box canyons. “One of the key benefits was that the soil profile was very shallow and penetration was not deep,” Mr. Racca said. “This was not a typical military site where munitions were fired at different widths.”

DTSC project manager Robert Romero said the cleanup plan is a “corrective measures study” and was developed for a portion of the site known as management areas 1 and 2.

He said soil and hazardous substances were previously cleaned to acceptable levels under DTSC oversight.

According to the Feb. 17, 2007, edition of the Champion, more than 3,000 tons of soil containing depleted uranium, considered low-grade radioactive, were removed under the oversight of the Radiologic Health Branch of the Department of Health Services. The DTSC concluded in 2004 that depleted uranium in the soil, surface water and groundwater were within acceptable levels.

Residents pressed Aerojet officials about its intention for the property but received no answers.

Previously, Aerojet told the Champion that residential homes and a cemetery are possibilities. The corrective measures study also states that the land could contain houses and a cemetery.

Residents also were concerned about the notification process. Ms. Lear said DTSC notified more 3,107 residents. Schools, police, fire, hospitals, the Chamber of Commerce, and other organizations were also notified.

The corrective measures study can be viewed at the Chino Hills Branch Library or www.envirostor.dtsc.ca.gov and enter Chino Hills in the search engine.

Comments will be taken until Thursday, April 28, by email to Robert.Romero@dtsc.ca.gov.

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