2009 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: Sat, 1 Aug 2009 15:55:46 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] HEALTH, REUSE: Former NASA plant, Downey, CA
Health complaints linked to former NASA site in Downey
A toxic cleanup paved the way for Downey Studios. But people who worked on films there say they developed conditions from which they have not recovered. The source of their problems remains a mystery.

By Richard Verrier
Los Angeles Times (CA)
August 2, 2009

In 34 years as a Hollywood prop maker, John Izumi rarely missed a day of work. Now he can barely pull himself out of bed.

His medical records describe a daunting array of ailments: chest pains, headaches, dizziness, memory loss, red blotches and pimple-like bumps. He says he has trouble breathing at night and wakes up with tremors.

Izumi traces these symptoms to the three months he spent at Downey Studios in 2004 and 2005 building sets for the science-fiction movie "The Island."


The property, between Lakewood and Bellflower boulevards north of Imperial Highway, was a cradle of the nation's aircraft and aerospace industries. During World War II, Vultee Aircraft made heavy bombers there. After the war, North American Aviation conducted research on nuclear power and rocket propulsion.

In the 1960s, North American (later part of Rockwell International) landed a NASA contract to build a booster rocket and the command and service modules for the Apollo lunar program. Later, workers at Downey made and assembled components for six space shuttles.


For the entire article, see


Lenny Siegel
Executive Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
a project of the Pacific Studies Center
278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/961-8918

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