Randy Stafford's response to presentations at the Broomfield June 18th Study Session

June 25, 2019

Broomfield City Council

City and County of Broomfield

One DesCombes Drive

Broomfield, CO 80020

Mr. Mayor and Members of the Council:

Thank you for arranging the “Discussion Regarding Rocky Flats in Regards to the

Jefferson Parkway” at your June 18th study session (whose video is at

http://broomfield.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=6&clip_id=1508). I

certainly appreciated you creating the opportunity for citizen groups to present

their views on this very important issue. I am writing now to respond to statements

made, positions revealed, and events that transpired in that discussion.

Let me begin with the observation that neither Ms. Opila nor Dr. Urbina addressed

the most important point of all: the alarming recent disease incidence in new

neighborhoods across Indiana Street from Rocky Flats. In Five Parks, the death of

Brian McNeely, and the sickness of Nathan Panzer, from the extremely rare heart

cancer cardiac angiosarcoma (plus other cancers and neurological diseases reported

by Elaine McNeely at 59:10 of https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XTtu2DRb3k).

In Whisper Creek, the death of two men under age 40 from stomach cancer, and the

sickness of another man with appendix and bladder cancer, reported to Tiffany

Hanson in April. The compilation by young breast cancer victim Brittany Kelley,

who attended the study session, of now 17 young women from the area afflicted

with breast cancer at a young age. The testimony by Leslie Moritz at Council’s April

23rd meeting on her Pomona High School classmates, three of them, who developed

cancer before their five-year reunion. Perhaps CDPHE doesn’t address this point

because it is unaware. It has never conducted a health monitoring program on the

population near Rocky Flats, as urged by Drs. Carl Johnson and Richard Clapp.

Ms. Opila stated at 2:48:52 in the study session video that the estimated lifetime

cancer risk for a person living on Refuge land, if that were to be allowed, would be

30.001% - one excess cancer in ten thousand people more than the risk for any

Coloradoan. But the disease incidence in Five Parks alone demonstrates the

inaccuracy of that estimate. The population in Five Parks is only 1,662 people (per


Parks/Population), yet it had two cases of an extremely rare heart cancer. In

responding to the 19 questions Council Member Castriotta sent CDPHE, Ms. Opila

glibly dismissed this fact with the statement (at 3:22:25 in the video) that “a number

of your concerns were with cancer clusters ... our cancer studies have shown that

there was not an increased cancer risk.”


CDPHE’s cancer studies are sufficiently flawed as to be meaningless (more on that in

Attachment E pp.8-10 of the Jefferson Parkway Advisory Committee’s Final Report,

linked from https://www.jppha.org/citizen-engagement). In asserting that “the

remaining contamination poses a low risk to human health,” as Ms. Opila did at

2:48:00 and 2:53:15 in the video, CDPHE relies on two would-be substantiations.

One is its seriously flawed cancer studies. The other is the 50 pCi/g CERLCA soil

action level reverse-engineered from the Congressionally-capped budget for the

Rocky Flats cleanup project, as documented by Dr. LeRoy Moore in his recent book

Plutonium and People Don’t Mix

(https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0578488590/). Neither argument is based

on accurate measurement and root cause analysis of disease incidence in the

population downwind of Rocky Flats. In short, the available information - including

three other eminently credible epidemiological studies - does not support CDPHE’s

contention that the remaining contamination poses a low risk to human health.

Another interesting observation was the inconsistency between Ms. Opila’s and Dr.

Urbina’s statements on the question of whether a single alpha radiation particle can

cause cancer. Dr. Urbina flatly stated at 3:12:38 in the video “so, the one particle

causing cancer is just simply not true,” referencing one study by a longtime DOE

contractor. But at 3:28:00, in response to Council Member Shelton’s statement that

“there have been people that have said that just one particle can be ingested, and it

can radiate emissions forever, and almost guarantee some kind of cancer,” Ms. Opila

stated “we are not disputing that.” She further states at 4:56:05, in response to a

statement from Council Member Groom, “it [one particle] could create cancer.” One

would think that Ms. Opila and Dr. Urbina would have made consistent statements

on that question, given their associations with CDPHE (Dr. Urbina was CDPHE

Executive Director until resigning amidst controversy in 2013). Meanwhile, in an

independent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of

Sciences of the United States of America, Dr. Tom Hei of Columbia University and

colleagues concluded “[t]hese data provide direct evidence that a single alpha

particle traversing a nucleus will have a high probability of resulting in a mutation

and highlight the need for radiation protection at low doses”


Dr. Urbina opened his presentation by saying “what I’d like to do is put this [health

risks at Rocky Flats] in perspective”, and describing himself as a longtime public

health advocate (2:54:56 in the video). He then listed examples of other risks: air

pollution, tainted food, lightning, motor vehicle deaths, suicide, and summarized “So

I just wanted to put this in perspective to know that there are risks associated

outside of this environment [Rocky Flats]” (2:56:53 in the video). This minimization

of Rocky Flats risk is typical of CDPHE orthodoxy, and raises a very important moral

question: does the existence of other risks absolve government of protecting

citizens from Rocky Flats risks? You might die in a car accident anyway, so what’s a

little plutonium? That reasoning is irresponsible, especially from a county medical

officer who describes himself as a longtime public health advocate.


Also typical of CDPHE orthodoxy is equating different types of radiation and doses

received from them. Dr. Urbina stated (at 3:04:00) that a chest x-ray exposes a

person to 10 millirems, and a body CT scan exposes a person to 1,000 millirems.

But a chest x-ray is qualitatively different than an inhaled plutonium particle. The

latter intensely irradiates immediately surrounding cells wherever in the body it

settles. Whereas an x-ray is a different type of radiation absorbed by the entire

body or portion thereof. These different types of radiation are not directly

comparable on the localization or quantity of dose they entail, though Dr. Urbina

makes such a comparison at 3:07:38, in the vein of minimizing estimated dose

received from exposure at Rocky Flats to Refuge workers and visitors.

It’s appalling that CDPHE, whose stated mission is “to protect the health of

Colorado’s people,” continues such a denialist position on the public health risk of

remaining Rocky Flats contamination, when the available evidence – the sick and

deceased residents in new neighborhoods downwind, and three credible

independent epidemiological studies covering 23 years of cancer registry data – all

strongly suggest such a risk exists. And it’s particularly galling that Dr. Urbina at

3:14:47 patronizingly thanked Dr. Carl Johnson – a TRUE longtime public health

advocate, who was ousted from office by business interests around Rocky Flats – for

“calling the question” of public health risk nearby. The question is obviously still

highly relevant, and in need of truly responsible government agencies and

leadership (like Dr. Carl Johnson) to investigate it ethically and thoroughly.

Toward the end of the study session, I was quite surprised that Mayor Ahrens

allowed David Wood to interject himself into the discussion from his seat in the

audience. I’ve seen Mayor Ahrens forcefully shut down such violations of protocol

at other Council meetings. Why should David Wood be exempt? David Wood’s

academic specialization was in semiconductors

(https://physics.mines.edu/project/wood-david/) – not in radiochemistry like Dr.

Edward Martell’s, not in medicine or public health like Dr. Carl Johnson’s, not in

epidemiology like Dr. Richard Clapp’s, not in health physics like Dr. Karl Morgan’s,

not in molecular biology like Dr. John Gofman’s, not in radionuclide chemistry like

Dr. Michael Ketterer’s. In other words David Wood is not a subject matter expert on

these Rocky Flats –related topics, like those other scientists I cite are.

David Wood has a vested interest in attempting to “prove” that the site is “safe,”

because he lives in Candelas. He admits in his own works that his Geiger counter is

unable to detect alpha radiation from plutonium at the site. He has no alternative

explanation or refutation of all the studies I reviewed finding hundreds of times

plutonium background radiation at the site, and elevated cancer incidence in nearby

areas. The information he presents confounds the issue and is irrelevant to the

question. The well-established facts are that: 1) the unremediated east side of the

Refuge, including the Parkway right-of-way, is contaminated with Rocky Flats –

specific plutonium to levels representing hundreds of times man-made background

plutonium concentration from fallout from atmospheric nuclear weapons


detonations; and 2) plutonium is one of the most carcinogenic substances known to

man. Someday soon, when primary tumor tissue excised from Rocky Flats

downwinders is shown to contain Rocky Flats –specific plutonium by isotope ratio,

all those other confounding arguments will be exposed as the distractions they are,

in the face of smoking-gun evidence of causality.

I will close by responding to some of Mayor Ahrens’ comments made at the

conclusion of the meeting. I agree with Ms. Opila that we can’t change history.

However government has a responsibility to not exacerbate the problem that

already exists – to not raise radioactive dust into the wind.

Mayor Ahrens referred to Broomfield as “the last hurdle” in the Jefferson Parkway

project (at 5:21:48 in the video). I would rather refer to the Broomfield City Council

as the last line of defense, for citizens in the Broomfield neighborhood of Skyestone

and in other neighborhoods, from getting resuspended plutonium oxide dust from

Parkway construction settling on their properties and posing a cancer risk to them.

Mayor Ahrens stated at 5:21:27 “I sit on the Parkway board, and if we thought that

people could get seriously sick because of not mediating, and taking care and

building that road properly, I don't think anybody on our board would do it.” But

the way I personally became involved in this whole issue was by attending a JPPHA

Public Forum on September 27, 2017 and asking Bill Ray, Don Rosier, Marc

Williams, and Greg Stokes whether they were even aware of the studies showing

plutonium concentration in the Indiana Street corridor at hundreds of times

background. They weren’t (see the last question, on p.12, under heading “Questions

about Rocky Flats” in “Public Open House Q&A: September 27, 2017” linked from

https://www.jppha.org/citizen-engagement). Fast-forward almost two years, and

I’ve raised awareness through serving on the Jefferson Parkway Advisory

Committee, culminating in this letter, really.

Finally Mayor Ahrens warns at 5:22:40 that “it's kind of a difficult situation that

we're putting our citizens in and Broomfield if we decide not to move forward.” But

you would be putting your citizens and Broomfield in a more difficult situation if

you do move forward with the current Parkway plans – a situation of being exposed

to airborne plutonium oxide dust.

Thank you again for opportunity to present. I do hope that the Broomfield City

Council will take these grave matters most seriously, as public health is hanging in

the balance.


Randy Stafford

Member, Jefferson Parkway Advisory Committee