The broad, long-term objective of this study is to identify the health risks and impact of uranium (U) contamination on harvested animals and plants on the Dini (formerly known as Navajo) reservation. This study provides a food chain assessment of U exposure in an American Indian (AI) reservation in northwestern New Mexico. The study setting was a prime target of U mining for military purposes from 1945 to 1988. More than 1,100 unreclaimed abandoned U mines and structures remain. These abandoned U mines, structures and tailings contaminate the land and vegetation on which humans and livestock consume.
The specific aims of the study are to: (1) describe the dietary behavior in Dini residents specifically related to ingestion of locally harvested animals and plants;(2) compare U levels in locally harvested animals and plants from areas known to have high levels of environmental U contamination to those from areas known to have low levels of U contamination;(3) explore potential routes of U exposure for locally harvested plants and animals;and (4) disseminate study findings to the leadership and community on the Navajo reservation. This is a comparison study examining contamination levels in locally harvested animals and plants from reservation areas known to have high levels of environmental U contamination to those from areas known to have low levels of U contamination. Data obtained from the parent study or the DiNEH (Dini Network for Environmental Health) cohort (N=1,304) will serve as the source from which to identify subjects and samples for the research. Of the DiNEH cohort respondents, those individuals who reported positively to questionnaire responses to harvesting sheep (n=280) and crops (n=180) will be selected into the present study. Animal data U levels will be determined on a scale of micrograms (

Public Health Relevance

This study will examine the dietary contributory risk factors of anthropogenic uranium exposure in harvested food chain among the Navajo Dini population. This a descriptive comparative study that has the potential to answer scientific questions for various communities that rely heavily on locally grown food exposed to mining contamination;the study will augment further inquiry, prevention efforts, intervention, monitoring, education, support legislation, policy development, and advocacy.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR)
Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F31)
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National Institute of Nursing Research Initial Review Group (NRRC)
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Banks, David
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University of California Los Angeles
Schools of Nursing
Los Angeles
United States
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Samuel-Nakamura, Christine; Robbins, Wendie A; Hodge, Felicia S (2017) Uranium and Associated Heavy Metals in Ovis aries in a Mining Impacted Area in Northwestern New Mexico. Int J Environ Res Public Health 14: