Lab Matters Summer 2018 - Page 8

feature Elevating the Role of PHLs in Reducing Health Disparities by Nancy Maddox, MPH, writer The southeast corner of Utah is often referred to as “canyon country;” a place where the gods indulged a taste for grandeur. Canyonlands National Park, Hovenweep National Monument and Bears Ears National Monument are all here, among a profusion of protected natural areas and sacred Native American sites. Also here? The only active conventional uranium plant in the US—White Mesa Mill, owned by the Canadian company, Energy Fuels. And just three miles beyond that facility— with a licensed capacity of over eight million pounds of uranium per year—lies the small White Mesa reservation of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, which is headquartered in Towaoc, Colorado. Yolanda Badback has lived on White Mesa all her life, along with her four children, 6 LAB MATTERS Summer 2018 ages 15 to 23. And for much of her life, she has been concerned about what’s coming into the nearby mill—which processes locally-mined uranium, plus toxic debris hauled in from across North America— and what’s going out. Some of Badback’s neighbors lack access to transportation, so to reach the nearest off-reservation town of Blanding, they walk along US Route 191, close to the big rigs carrying radioactive waste to the mill. Badback wonders how much exposure those neighbors suffer. She has other concerns, as well. “We’re just downstream from the mill,” she said. “If there were a leak in the Z[[Hۙ H۸&][]][š[\[]\'HH[ܜY\˜X]X۝[Z[][ۈ[HY\][][]HY[X\[[X][X]HZ\[\K[H[ BܘYY\^H\H8'X[\KYx&\HX8'H[[HZ\ۈXܛš[YوXܙ\وZ[[ۙ˂[H\\\]Y[]B[[Z[]HX[]]ܚ]Y\[B]Z\\Y[وX[ YHX[Y[X\ۙ\]HY\Z\^\H^HX[ˈ\\قH\ܛ\]\[[ۚ]ܚ[ۜܝ][KH]ZXXX[Xܘ]ܞH\Y[YZ[\Y[&B^\H[[ۈX[܈X]BXYK[]XۙXHو[[™HHT[\܈\X\H۝[][[ۈ KHۜܝ][B\YX\\[X]HY][\XYB[ZX[\[X[[[ܘ[\X[[]HY]X]\[[X[X[Y[HXܛHY[ۋZYXܘ]ܞH\X܈؞[][ۋB[ 8'x&]HY[Z[™]\Z[H\HY]H]BH[\[][]Y\]X^XBXXX[XTT ܙ