A Tuesday, September 1st virtual briefing by the National Cancer Institute about their Study to Estimate Radiation Doses and Cancer Risks Resulting from Radioactive Fallout from the Trinity Nuclear Test is set to re-traumatize the Trinity Downwinders and their families.
In 2013, when the National Cancer Institute (NCI) first met with members of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium to discuss their proposed study, the Downwinders were more than willing to help. The Downwinders believed that the federal government had finally decided to return and document the harm done to the People of New Mexico by the first atomic bomb test on July 16, 1945 at the Trinity Test Site. https://dceg.cancer.gov/research/how-we-study/exposure-assessment/trinity
Over a short amount of time, that trust evaporated.
Early on, NCI promised the Downwinders that they would be able to review the draft reports NCI would prepare for publication. NCI paid the Downwinders and others to assist them in obtaining the crucial support of Tribal and Pueblo entities that would allow them to move forward. However, once NCI had the Tribal and Pueblo resolutions, they limited communication with the Downwinders.
Nevertheless, the Downwinders offered a list of concerns about the study and requested that it include the Hispanic members of the communities living adjacent to the Trinity site. They also queried whether the study could identify enough sources to adequately report about 1945 lifeways firsthand because the number of people still living who could share their memories was limited.
As the study proceeded, the Downwinders registered further concerns. One question was how the NCI would address the re-suspension of particulate matter from the heavy windstorms that exist in New Mexico. They also asked about an NCI questionnaire that was about 1945 food sources. It was clear to the Downwinders that the research done by NCI had not utilized local experts to learn about the lifeways of Native People and Hispanics and how they accessed food in 1945.
In short, it was not clear that the NCI would be responsive to the Downwinders’ questions.
NCI will release six papers about their study on September 1st at 8 am Mountain Daylight Time (MDT). Those people who register for the virtual briefing will receive digital copies of the six papers by email immediately following publication. A short summary of the six papers, in both English and Spanish, will also be emailed.
The September 1st one-hour virtual briefing will begin at 2:30 Mountain Daylight Time (MDT). After a welcome, opening prayer and introductory remarks, a pre-recorded presentation by the principal investigator Dr. Steve Simon will give an overview of the study results. Finally, thirty minutes is scheduled for questions and discussion. To register for the virtual briefing, go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/F5DCQSW.
Tina Cordova, co-founder of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium, said, “We’ve been waiting seven years for the NCI to complete and release this million dollar study. We can only hope it tells the truth about what we all know to be true from our lived experiences and from what science now reflects and supports.” https://www.trinitydownwinders.com/