Cold War Victims: Babies in New Mexico
Babies born near to the date of the first atomic test at Trinity on July 16, 1945 and survived are lucky to be alive. They are our grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. A recent scientific study revealed that in the months following the Trinity test the infant mortality in New Mexico rose dramatically after a ten-year decline.
Infant mortality is reported as the number of deaths per 1,000 live births. The highest rate occurred in September, 1945. In August, the infant mortality rate was 152.3 per 1,000 live births. In September, the rate was 187.8. In October, it fell to 123.1.
The community work done by the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium, also know as the Trinity Downwinders, reveals that many families did not talk about losing a baby. Slowly, the stories are being told. Many people have read the report and are coming forward to talk about the babies that were lost and the miscarriages that occurred in their families after the test.
The study authors, Kathleen M. Tucker and Robert Alvarez, wrote, “Evidence collected by the New Mexico health department but ignored for some 70 years shows an unusually high rate of infant mortality in New Mexico counties downwind from the [Trinity] explosion and raises a serious question whether or not the first victims of the first atomic explosion might have been American children.” https://thebulletin.org/2019/07/trinity-the-most-significant-hazard-of-the-entire-manhattan-project/
Uranium was mined in northwest New Mexico for the first atomic bombs and for decades during the Cold War. Cleanup has been very slow in coming.
Uranium is radioactive and a heavy metal. When exposed, radiation harms the body. The heavy metal aspects harm the kidneys.
Another recent study, the Navajo Birth Cohort Study, found that some babies are being born with high concentrations of uranium in their bodies. https://www.indian.senate.gov/sites/default/files/10.07.19%20Dr.%20Christensen%20IHS%20Testimony%20on%20Radiation%20in%20Indian%20Country.pdf The exposures continue into the first year of life. From a small sample size, elevated levels of uranium and arsenic have been found in five-year olds. These levels impact learning capacities.
The study found higher concentrations of uranium in the urine of men and women in the Navajo Nation. Those concentrations exceeded the levels found in the highest five percent of the U.S. population.
The first phase of the study was concluded in August 2018. The study will continue in collaboration with the Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) and the National Institutes of Health.
Tina Cordova, of the Trinity Downwinders, said, “It is unconscionable that our children have been so negatively affected by the nuclear industry in our state. We should all be outraged at the information that has now come to light.” https://www.trinitydownwinders.com/
Did You Know about these opportunities to get involved?
1. Monday, October 21st – The U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs is keeping the record open for written public comments about their Oversight Field Hearing about “America’s Nuclear Past: Examining the Effects of Radiation in Indian Country.” The written testimonies are available at https://www.indian.senate.gov/hearing/field-oversight-hearing-america-s-nuclear-past-examining-effects-radiation-indian-country
Video of the hearing will be available soon at https://www.indian.senate.gov/hearing/field-oversight-hearing-america-s-nuclear-past-examining-effects-radiation-indian-country
2. Thursday, October 24th – Wednesday, October 30th – Worldwide Count the Nuclear Weapons Money. Events are being organized in New Mexico where 40% of the Department of Energy’s nuclear weapons is spent! Let’s show the world that we support a just transition away from nuclear weapons! For more information: http://nuclearactive.org/worldwide-count-the-nuclear-weapons-money-oct-24th-30th/
and email email@example.com
3. Saturday, October 26th at 6 pm – the first Candlelight Vigil in Socorro at the Socorro Plaza, Socorro, NM by the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium. Socorro Candlelight Vigil 10-26-19
Tags: Dr. Loretta Christensen, Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO), infant mortality, Kathleen M. Tucker, National Institutes of Health, Navajo Birth Cohort Study, Robert Alvarez, Tina Cordova, trinity downwinders, Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium, uranium
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