Los Angeles

Kardashians Join in Calls for Santa Susana Field Lab Cleanup

The lab site is contaminated with tons of radioactive and toxic chemical waste, created by decades of nuclear accidents and rocket testing.

Millions of people are learning about the toxic threat from the contaminated Santa Susana Field Lab, all because of tweets from the Kardashians. Three Kardashian sisters are alerting the twitter-verse about the field lab where the deadly Woolsey fire started.

The NBC4 I-Team exposed potential threats to 500,000 people living within five miles of the radioactive site in a series of reports beginning in 2015 called "LA's Nuclear Secret."

The tweets are part of a growing call to finally clean up the former nuclear and rocket test site, which sits on a mountain between Los Angeles and Simi Valley.

About 20,000 more people have signed a petition for a cleanup since the Kardashians began tweeting about it, bringing the total to close to half a million people have signed the petition. The Field Lab, perched on a mountain between Los Angeles and Simi Valley, is one of California's most toxic sites.

Kim Kardashian told her 58 million twitter followers she's "shocked and furious" to learn that smoke from the Woolsey Fire started at Santa Susana and is potentially radioactive. Kourtney Kardashian tweeted "our family lives only 20 miles from santa susana."

Khloe Kardashian retweeted the message, joining her sisters in urging followers to sign a petition, demanding that incoming Governor Gavin Newsom get the site cleaned up.

"There's a lot of elected officials I think who are ready to jump on this, but we need more public support," said Melissa Bumstead who lives in West Hills, in the shadow of the Field Lab and started a petition.

The lab site is contaminated with tons of radioactive and toxic chemical waste, created by decades of nuclear accidents and rocket testing. Bumstead's daughter Grace Ellen, diagnosed with a rare leukemia at age 4, is one of dozens of kids who live near the field lab, all diagnosed with unusual cancers.

"I've always wondered, if the site had been cleaned up way back in 2010, maybe my daughter never would have had cancer," she said. Then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger got the owners of the field lab, including Boeing and NASA, to sign agreements to clean up the lab by 2017.

But when Governor Jerry Brown took office, he never enforced those agreements. He has not responded to at least six requests from NBC4 for comment since 2015. But today, after touring the Woolsey Fire, he called for a cleanup, but left it up to his successor.

"This fire should wake everyone up," he said. "We'll do all that I can between now and Jan. 6 and after that we'll pass the baton to Mr. Newsom."

The Woolsey Fire is also a wake-up call to scientists worldwide, like the the winner of the 2017 Nobel Peace Dr. Tilman Ruff of Australia, who is now also calling for a full clean up of Santa Susana.

"The risk if the site isn't cleaned up is that this will happen again, and that materials will in any case continue to leak from the site," said Tilman, of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War.

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