Raise awareness of environmental health issues in order to better protect our children and future generations.

09 December 2013

California: Up to 10 Teenagers Diagnosed with Brain Tumors in the Same Los Angeles Suburb

Mary and Patrick Leyden's son Patrick died five years after
being diagnosed with a brain tumor at the age of 19.
Up to 10 teenagers diagnosed with brain tumors in the same Los Angeles suburb
by Meghan Keneally, Daily Mail,
3 December 2013
  • Families of teenagers from the same California high school are trying to find the cause of their children's brain tumors
  • Legal advocate Erin Brockovich is now helping them on their case
  • No causes have been publicly identified
  • Moorpark, California is now thought to be one of hundreds of cancer clusters across the U.S. 
Parents in a Los Angeles suburb have teamed up with Erin Brockovich after at least 10 area children have been diagnosed with brain tumors.

Mary and Patrick Leyden's son Patrick died five years after being diagnosed with a brain tumor at the age of 19.

After his death, they began hearing about other families whose children were also battling malignant and benign brain tumors.

Scary trend: Patrick is just one of at least 10 people who grew up in Moorpark, California and were diagnosed with brain tumors.

'I just collected names, numbers and addresses and they kind of were in the same proximity, even though Moorpark’s a small town,' Mary Leyden told CBS Los Angeles.

The Leydens were joined at the CBS interview by two other parents of teens who were fighting the same disease- and who had all lived in the same area of California.

One of which was Tom Pflaumer, whose daughter Breanna was diagnised with a fatal brain tumor at the age of 14.

Doctors told her that she would only live for three months, but she has since undergone 12 surgeries and is now 22-years-old.

'I knew about three or four more people in addition to Patrick (Leyden) and Austin (Munoz),' Mr Pflaumer said, mentioning one of Breanna's friends who's brain tumor is now in remission after extensive treatment.

A number of the children in question attended Moorpark High School, the public school serving the area of 34,400 people.

As much as the similar stories have given the parents a means of support through the difficult diagnoses, they are more concerned with stopping the problem and finding the source of the 'cancer cluster'.

'I don’t even know if (county officials) are aware of it, honestly,' said Mrs Leyden.

After conferring, the families contacted legal advocate Erin Brockvich, who became famous for building the case against one of California's biggest gas companies after finding them at fault for a similar cancer cluster.

There are no firm leads on any potential causes for the high number of brain tumors in the area, but Brockovich says that further research into the case will be helped by a national disease tracking database.

Brockovich has been advocating for some form of federal website that would allow people across the U.S. to report when they are diagnosed with various cancers and brain tumors.

Such a database would help experts have a collective source recording how many cases of certain diseases are reported in certain areas.

She testified about its merits in the Senate in 2011 but the bill pushing for the creation of such a site has been stalled.

'I think we need to get in the business of taking a look at a national reporting center, so we can begin to look at science, look at stats … help science help doctors, so doctors can help their patients, so we can have better health,' she told CBS Los Angeles.

Cancer clusters which stem from environmental issues are spread across the country, including one recent case in the New York suburb of Briarcliff.

In that case, at least a dozen children were infected- two of whom died- as it was discovered that the school sports field was filled with toxic chemical waste.



  1. A former landfill, once owned by S.K. Egg City, is located at 550 W. Los Angeles Avenue. The former dumpsite is just north of Arroyo River and may include all of Vista Community Park which is adjacent to Moorpark High School. Chemicals from this dumpsite may have caused cancers in the area. Has there been an investigation of this former landfill?

  2. If Erin Brokovich is dealing with this, I'm sure she is investigating this possibility. I am also curious about the findings and will do some research. http://www.brockovich.com/

  3. I posted on Facebook and several blogs because I haven't heard any mention in the media of the S.K. Egg City dumpsite and it's proximity to Moorpark High School. It's possible that Erin Brockovich and the Vititoe Law Firm are unaware of this landfill..

    1. Okay, I have contacted Erin Brokovich with the details you have provided and will keep you posted.

    2. Thank you Meris for keeping me posted. And thank you for your very informative blog.


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