160776 Uranium mining and community exposures on the Navajo Nation

Wednesday, November 7, 2007: 12:30 PM

Chris Shuey, MPH , Southwest Research and Information Center, Albuquerque, NM
Sarah Henio-Adeky , Southwest Research and Information Center, Pine Hill, NM
Teddy Nez , Southwest Research and Information Center, Gallup, NM
Gerald R. Brown , Church Rock Uranium Monitoring Project, Church Rock, NM
Bernice Norton , Church Rock Uranium Monitoring Project, Gallup, NM
This presentation will provide the history of uranium mining on the Navajo Nation, summarizing the health impacts to uranium workers, the wide range of potential population exposures that may result from the lack of remediation of abandoned mine and mill sites, and the concerns of community members about the lack of data on health effects among descendants of former uranium workers and among people living in mining-impacted areas. The presentation will also discuss the potential public health risks of proposed new uranium mining in these same Navajo communities. The presenters include staff members of organizations that are partners in the Diné Network for Environmental Health (DiNEH) Project and individuals who live in mining-impacted communities on the Navajo Nation. They will provide demographic information and aggregate health data that characterize the Navajo Nation as a whole and the communities involved in the DiNEH Project study area. Environmental assessment activities initiated by Churchrock Chapter of the Navajo Nation under the auspicies of the Church Rock Uranium Monitoring Project, and SRIC's role in providing organizational and technical support for those activities, will be discussed. Results of CRUMP's assessment of water quality in local wells, uranium-in-soil and soil radiation levels, indoor radon levels, and airborne particulate concentrations are summarized. These data have utility for educating community members about the long-term environmental impacts of past uranium mining, providing scientific data upon which Churchrock Chapter and adjacent Navajo communities have advocated successfully for mine-site cleanup, and informing the DiNEH Project's cumulative exposure model.

Learning Objectives:
1. To understand the pervasive environmental and health impacts of past uranium mining and processing in Navajo Indian Country. 2. To review environmental exposure pathways relevant for people who live in mining-impacted communities. 3. To demonstrate that a community-initiated and participatory environmental assessment can generate high-quality scientific data for educational purposes, environmental health studies, and policy objectives.

Keywords: Uranium, Environmental Exposures

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.