A Good Thesis Statement For Why Animal Testing Is Wrong Science versus Fiction: Have New Mexico Environmentalists Been Telling the Truth

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Science versus Fiction: Have New Mexico Environmentalists Been Telling the Truth

While it may be a speculative thought whether Chris Shuey influences the editorial voices of Gallup and other New Mexico media outlets, it appears that Mr. Shuey may have built the foundation for his career on a uranium-related disaster. On the other hand, can anyone blame an ambulance chaser for trying to make a living as well? In the absence of a “Three Mile-Island” episode in quiet Gallup, New Mexico, Chris Shuey helped found the Southwest Research and Information Center in a vocal “expert” backlash against the uranium industry apparently supporting pig the uranium mill tailings spill in 1979. near Church Rock. It was considered one of the worst waste spills ever to occur in North America. We looked for definitive evidence of deaths from this spill, but came up dry. Any published official report contradicting the previous statement would be welcome.

Founded in 1971, the SRIC group built serious media credibility by milking the “horrific and grotesque” human and animal health consequences of that spill. But where was the actual damage in terms of human life and ecological disaster? We received the Executive Summary (dated October 1982) of an NMEID report entitled, “The Church Rock Uranium Tailings Spill: A Health and Environmental Assessment.” The report’s authors concluded: “In summary, the spill affected the environment of the Puerco River Valley for a short period, but had little or no effect on the health of local residents.” This report was issued three years after the “largest single release of liquid radioactive waste in the United States” (about 94 million gallons of acidified effluent and waste sludge).

Some may speculate whether newspaper reports published in 1979 about this spill have the sound and smell of poor, yellow journalism. Others might wonder if those stories were better suited only to the funniest supermarket tabloids. If one believed what was written back then, the entire population of Gallup, New Mexico should have vanished from the face of the earth by now. Helping to fuel today’s SRIC hysteria over uranium mining, the environmental group has argued that HRI’s proposed ISL uranium project, near the Church Rock boundary of the Navajo reservation, would cause groundwater contamination, possibly with the same gravity of the previous remains. shedding. In a sense they seem to be bringing up bad memories of that spill. “He’s very good at using the media,” sighed HRI’s Craig Bartels. “There are some people who are very vocal,” Bartels explained as he described SRIC’s opposition to his company’s ISL operation, “especially Chris Shuey, who advertises himself as a journalist.”

The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) did not make much of a fuss about the local media’s sensationalism. The following was excerpted from their official report on the uranium waste spill:

o “The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in cooperation with the Church Rock community, found no documented human consumption of river water. Six Navajo individuals most exposed to the spilled pollutants were selected by the CDC and tested at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where they were found to have amounts of radioactive material normally found in the human body.” Recommendation: No further action is required.

o “No public, private, or municipal wells that produce water for domestic use or livestock irrigation were affected by the spill. Wells that draw water only from sandstone or limestone aquifers will probably never be affected by the spilled contaminants.”

o “Based on the limited testing conducted by the CDC, the additional radiation risk from consuming local livestock is small. The risk is about the same as the increased risk from cosmic radiation caused by moving from sea level to 5,000 feet in elevation .”

o “Computer modeling identified inhalation as the most important pathway of human radiation exposure from the spill. However, air dust samples along the Puerco River in Gallup immediately after the spill showed only background levels of radioactivity. Furthermore, one year after After the spill, radioactivity levels in Puerco River sediments were significantly reduced due to dilution with uncontaminated river sediments.”

The Church Rock incident was reported in the Journal of Health Physics (July 1984: Vol. 47, No. 1) in an article entitled, “Estimation of Human Exposure to Radionuclides from a Release of Uranium Mill Waste and Runoff of the deujit of the mine.” This report was prepared by two staff members of the US Centers for Disease Control, two staff members of the New Mexico Department of Health and Environment, and one staff member of the US Environmental Protection Agency. Two strong conclusions were reached in this report:

“A review of state and federal regulations dealing with ingestion doses calculated from the Church Rock data showed that no exposure limits were exceeded from the spill, or from chronic exposure to mine tailings flows.”

“In light of the currently known cancer incidence and mortality risks associated with radionuclide levels measured at Church Rock and Gallup, we conclude that the exposed populations are too small for investigators to detect increased cancer mortality with levels acceptable statistical power. , it may be misleading to create a (cancer) registry with prior knowledge of increasing the low probability of mortality detection.”

Despite these scientific reports, Chris Shuey continued to promote the “Puerco River Education” project until 1986. “The Gallup Independent” lent a hand in promoting this panic and ran an article, “Drink not Puerco water.” In a May 8 (1986) article originating (appropriately) from Albuquerque, where Chris Shuey resides, the reporter wrote, “What little water there is in the Rio Puerco these days should not be consumed by man or beast, according to Southwest. Albuquerque Research and Information Center.”

Perhaps to strengthen his expertise as a health authority, Mr. Shuey pursued a Master of Public Health degree at the University of New Mexico, across the street from SRIC headquarters. In his thesis, Shuey wrote an integral literature review on “Biomarkers of Renal Injury – Challenges for Uranium Exposure Studies” (submitted April 29, 2002). After presenting this paper, Shuey came up with the unique assertion that uranium leads to kidney cancer.

On its website, the American Cancer Society lists smoking, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle as the main risk factors that increase the chances of developing kidney cancer (renal cell carcinoma). Occupational exposure to certain chemicals may also increase risk. Scientific studies have found that they may include: asbestos, cadmium (a type of metal), some herbicides, benzene and organic solvents, especially trichlorethylene. There is no mention by the American Cancer Society of uranium exposure leading to kidney cancer. However, cadmium is a different story.

The problem with initially reaching a conclusion and then looking for facts to confirm your preconceived notion negates the scientific process. For example, Shuey jumps around the cadmium issue throughout his report, but fails to link household garbage burning to the dangers of dioxins and cadmium when it comes to kidney problems and possible cancers. It appears that Shuey may have failed to include the single largest source of toxic air emissions that occurred in New Mexico prior to June 1, 2004, as a possible cause of kidney toxicity: garbage burning. At this time, New Mexico remains one of the few states that has not managed to stop the burning of electronic devices. Such garbage burning is said to release high concentrations of cadmium into the air. Could it be that something as obvious as cadmium concentrations could be the risk factor leading to kidney cancer rather than the supposed uranium?

According to scientific researcher Dalway Swaine (Trace Elements in Coal, Butterworths: 1990), Cadmium is a toxic trace element in coal. Coal combustion contributes about one-tenth of the Cd to the atmosphere, the same as volcanoes, and is considered to be a minor source of atmospheric cadmium. The problem may not be uranium at all, but other chemicals. However, fundraisers to reduce cadmium emissions, let alone fundraisers against coal mining, may not lead to famous sold-out dinners in Santa Fe.

It seems little wonder that SRIC seems to be less concerned about public health than their anti-nuclear agenda. Generally, the public’s reaction to an environmentalist is a warm and fuzzy feeling of, “Wow, here’s someone who really cares about our future.” SRIC has worked closely with the third-world-like Navajo Nation, which immediately elicits sympathy from any liberal-minded individual. Indeed, when StockInterview.com interviewed Shuey, he was on the reservation at a meeting. His publicly displayed concern for the Navajo is commendable. At the same time, one must also wonder if the most common cause of death among Navajo adults is alcohol abuse (often coupled with impaired driving), then why hasn’t SRIC worked more closely to reduce that issue? public health?

Visit the outskirts of any reservation and you’ll find piles of beer, spirits and bottles of wine. A polluted stop near Crownpoint, New Mexico took on the personality of a landfill. Where are SRIC’s calls for mercy for abused Navajos? More Navajo have died as a result of drunk driving accidents than from fifty years of uranium mining. But then again, that might be a little worrisome for an environmentalist group. Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley, Jr. might make better use of Mr. Shuey by asking him, “Can you help us with our drinking problem?”

Copyright © 2007 by StockInterview, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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