Buckman Direct Diversion Project Water Quality Meeting Scheduled for January 14th

January 8, 2010

In response to public concern about radioactive, toxic and hazardous pollutants from Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) impacting Santa Fe's drinking water, the Buckman Direct Diversion Project Board hired ChemRisk to conduct an independent peer review of available information. Under the contract, ChemRisk will hold three public meetings to discuss the review and obtain public input. The first meeting will be held on Thursday, January 14 at the Santa Fe Community College, in the Jemez Room, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

ChemRisk is a national leader in investigating historical operations at Department of Energy (DOE) nuclear weapons plants, including LANL. www.chemrisk.com ChemRisk has assembled toxicologists, hydrologists, health physicists, risk assessment specialists, a medical doctor and an environmental statistician to conduct the review. They have partnered with AMEC Earth and Environment, who has worked on projects at LANL and Sandia National Laboratories.

In the summer of 2008, the Buckman Board held a Water Quality Town Hall at St. Vincent's Hospital to address growing concerns about water quality from the upcoming diversion of Rio Grande water into the Santa Fe system. The room was packed with people with many questions and comments. One line of questions addressed whether nanoparticles would be filtered through the water treatment system. There are no public health standards for nanoparticles and some expressed concern about the new field of nanoscience and the research and development work done at LANL. cint.lanl.gov Nanoparticles are sometimes described as being 10,000 times smaller than a human hair.

A new group, called Healthy Water Now ASAP, consisting of parents of children with special needs, educators and health care practitioners, including nurses, doctors and therapists, gathered more than 300 signatures on a petition asking for a review. Their concerns included whether drinking public water with radioactive nanoparticles can impact sperm, cross the placenta, or enter breast milk. Healthy Water Now ASAP requested that the most current nanoparticle medical research be presented to the public to assure drinking water will not carry hidden risk factors for infertility, genetic disruption of DNA during child development, birth defects, and premature birth. They also asked whether any scientific studies have been done about the impacts of nanoparticles on the autoimmune systems of medically fragile people.

The Buckman Board responded by seeking funding from DOE for an independent peer review. In the fall, the Board received a $200,000 grant from DOE.

The public is invited to bring their concerns, ask questions and make public comments, which will be summarized and considered as the review progresses through 2010.

If the Buckman Board has any unanswered questions or concerns about the review, DOE has agreed to provide additional funding to address those concerns.

For more information about the January 14th meeting, please visit the Buckman Project website at www.bddproject.org.

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