* Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety (CCNS) released this week New Mexico's Right to Know: The Impacts of Los Alamos National Laboratory Operations on Public Health and the Environment, a comprehensive report that supports the uninterrupted continuation of the Los Alamos Historical Document Retrieval and Assessment (LAHDRA) Project of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The LAHDRA is the first step toward a complete dose reconstruction of Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), which is a study that estimates the amount of radioactivity and chemicals to which an individual may have been exposed based on the amounts of materials released by the facility throughout its history. Workers at other DOE facilities have used dose reconstructions to support their claims under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act. LANL employees have no such dose reconstruction to support their claims. CDC's work is currently threatened because, due to recent events, LANL has heightened security and restricted access to information, thereby hampering CDC's work.
New Mexico's Right to Know examines historical and current emissions of radioactive materials from LANL, cancer incidence and mortality rates for Los Alamos County (LAC) as compared with state and national reference populations, and a review of occupational health studies of LANL employees.
Bernd Franke investigates plutonium releases from LANL into the air and the adequacy of air monitoring equipment to detect those releases. Franke also investigates the potential doses of radiation to which a person may be exposed by LANL operations.
Catherine Richards' investigation is in response to community concerns about occurrences of specific cancers in LAC. When compared to the state reference population, Richards finds a 50% increased incidence of breast cancer, 125% increased incidence of melanoma, 82% increased incidence of testicular cancer and a 106% increased incidence of thyroid cancer in LAC. Richards also finds 41% increased mortality for breast cancer in LAC compared to the U.S. reference population.
Richards states, "The high mortality rate for breast cancer, when compared with the US rates, is of concern and should be investigated."
Drs. Steve Wing and David Richardson find that only employees of primary contractors have been included in occupational health studies at LANL, mostly limited to white Anglo University of California (UC) employees. Studies of the support workforce, which include many Hispanics and Native Americans, have been much less complete than those of the UC workforce. In one study, personnel records were available for 97% of the UC workers, but only 20% of the support workers, and urinalysis records were available for 39% of the UC workers, but only four percent of the support workers.
Joni Arends, Executive Director of CCNS, said, "CCNS advocates preventing harm before it can happen. New Mexico's Right to Know serves as an early warning of harm to public health and environment due to LANL operations. Therefore, CCNS believes that the LAHDRA Project must continue in order that we may understand the source of the harm from LANL operations so that further harm may be prevented."