International Development, Community, and Environment

Title

The Assessment of Radiation Exposures in Native American Communities from Nuclear Weapons Testing in Nevada

Document Type

Article

Abstract

Native Americans residing in a broad region downwind from the Nevada Test Site during the 1950s and 1960s received significant radiation exposures from nuclear weapons testing. Because of differences in diet, activities, and housing, their radiation exposures are only very imperfectly represented in the Department of Energy dose reconstructions. There are important missing pathways, including exposures to radioactive iodine from eating small game. The dose reconstruction model assumptions about cattle feeding practices across a year are unlikely to apply to the native communities as are other model assumptions about diet. Thus exposures from drinking milk and eating vegetables have not yet been properly estimated for these communities. Through consultations with members of the affected communities, these deficiencies could be corrected and the dose reconstruction extended to Native Americans. An illustration of the feasibility of extending the dose reconstruction is provided by a sample calculation to estimate radiation exposures to the thyroid from eating radio-iodine-contaminated rabbit thyroids after the Sedan test. The illustration is continued with a discussion of how the calculation results may be used to make estimates for other tests and other locations.

Publication Title

Risk Analysis

Publication Date

1-1-2000

Volume

20

Issue

1

First Page

101

Last Page

112

ISSN

0272-4332

DOI

10.1111/0272-4332.00010

Keywords

dose reconstruction, Native Americans, Nevada, nuclear testing, radiation

Disciplines

Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology

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