There has been minimal attention to the health risks associated with mining and environmental contamination in the Northwest Region. There are proposed uranium mining sites in McKinley County and we want to ensure that people are aware of the health risks related to either working in the mines or secondary exposure from family members bringing home contaminated clothes, air pollutants, etc. Also, there has been inadequate clean up of currently contaminated areas.
Health is only a fraction of what is considered in the Environmental Impact Studies conducted when a mining site is proposed. We want to ensure, to the best of our ability, that harm to the community is not reproduced. However, there have been limited discussions about the health risks associated with uranium mining in regards to those directly working in the mines, family members exposed to pollutants, those living in the surrounding area, and environmental contamination. Health impact assessments must be a part of any discussion or decision related to uranium mining as well as other proposed economic and policy initiatives.
Our HIA looks at the following health determinants:
- Environmental exposures/contamination
- Displacement and relocation
- Cultural relevance of the land to holistic health
- Community Efficacy
It addresses health broadly and is culturally sensitive instead of focusing solely on physical or disease related issues. By conducting this HIA, it elevated the voices of community members directly impacted by uranium mining and milling and provides them with useful information about health disparities within the area.
To view the Executive Summary and Report, go to: