Archive for April, 2016

Nahadzaan Nihima Baa Akohwiindzin Earth Day Event, Tuba City Chapter, April 22, 2106

Tuba City, AZ – Come and join us in this milestone event. The time has come for the Navajo Birth Cohort Study to make its imprint in Navajo history as we celebrate Earth Day with performances by Writtyn, Running With Arrows and our MC James Bilagody. Ahehee’



click images to view full size







Download a copy to post on your local public bulletin, please click here:  NBCS_EarthDay2016v2


For the Navajo Nation, Uranium Mining’s Deadly Legacy Lingers

For the Navajo Nation, Uranium Mining’s Deadly Legacy Lingers

by Laurel Morales

The Senior Correspondent Laurel Morales updated her coverage of the Navajo Birth Cohort Study conducted by University of New Mexico’s-Community Environmental Health Program.

To listen to podcast and full text of the report, click here:

As the University of New Mexico – Community Environmental Health Program enters its fourth year of the study, NPR updated the progress of the report.

To listen to April 10, 2016 NPR report, click here:

Laurel, NPR Senior Correspondent, was one of the first syndicated radio programs to report progress of the study in its first year on October 16, 2012.


The Occurrence of Water Contaminants in Unregulated Water Sources on the Navajo Nation

by Joseph H. Hoover, Miranda Cajero, and Johnnye Lewis
Community Environmental Health Program – University of New Mexico

This presentation shows pictures of unregulated water wells on the Navajo reservation as well as maps of areas across the Navajo Nation where contaminants were detected in the water sources.

30% of Navajo Nation residents lack household access to a public water system. Water consumption from unregulated sources represents a public health concern.

To see the full presentations, photos, and maps, please click here:



Understanding the Gold King Mine Spill: Center for Native American Environmental Health Equity Research Investigations to Inform Risk

by Joe Hoover, Ph.D. & Johnnye Lewis, Ph.D., Community Environmental Health Program, College of Pharmacy, University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center.


On August 5, 2015 approximately 3 million gallons of mixed heavy metal liquid waste was released into Cement Creek from the Gold King Mine in Southwestern Colorado. The bright orange color of the waste could be seen as the plume entered the Animas, and then the San Juan River. As the plume passed Kirtland, NM and entered the Navajo Nation, visual tracking was lost. At the Native EH Equity Center, we began to plot available sampling data in an attempt to visualize the plume’s movement in order to determine where metals may have precipitated into the river sediments and floodplains. Results of that interpolation and visualization of data are presented for pH, Al, Fe, and Mn.

Over the following weeks, the Center entered into a Consortium of state universities in an effort to coordinate activities and bring to bear all available resources to understand the future implications of the spill.

Click on this link to see full presentation and mapsCOP_research_day_GoldKing_poster

The Center for EH Equity plans to work with Navajo colleagues and others in the affected communities to identify potential exposure pathways for future use of the San Juan, and to understand the geochemical, microbiological, and mineralogic properties of the metals and the river to develop a comprehensive understanding of the potential risks that remain for the communities along the river.


Occurrence and spatial distribution of Arsenic (AS) and Uranium (U) in unregulated water sources on the Navajo Nation

by Joseph H. Hoover, Chris Shuey, Johnnye Lewis


Less than 1% of the US population lacks household access to a safe and reliable drinking water supply (Navajo Housing Survey, 2007); however, approximately 14% American Indian/Alaska Native homes lack household water supply (USEPA, 2010). For individual tribes such as the Navajo Nation, this frequency can exceed 30% (about 54,000 people).

The Navajo Nation is the site of extensive historical resource extraction. Uranium mining for the Cold War occurred throughout the Navajo Nation and there remains a legacy of more than 1,100 abandoned mine features.

Navajo communities have expressed concerns about the impact of uranium mining and waste on the land, water and human health.

Drinking water is one possible exposure pathway for Navajo Nation residents.

Please click on this link to review map and presentation:  2105_06_04_Hoover_V1

University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, Community Environmental Health Program (UNM-CEHP), College of Pharmacy, Southwest Research and Information Center (SRIC), Albuquerque, NM.

Report-back to Blue-Gap Tachee Chapter on soil and water testing by UNM-SRIC METALS Group, 2015

by Jose M Cerrato, Ph.D, Chris Shuey, MPH, Triva Shirley, Community Member, Paul Robinson, Research Director, and Seraphina Nez, Community Member

Blue Gap, AZ – The Southwest Research and Information Center and University of New Mexico Civil Engineering Department reported their findings of the presence of dangerous heavy metals in soil and water samplings in the Tachee – Blue Gap community.

The Blue Gap community organized a group of concerned citizens: Tachee  Uranium Concerns Committee/Blue Gap-Tachee Chapter to better understand how metals mixtures at abandoned uranium mine waste sites alter the movement of metals in the environment and also impact health, specifically immune function, DNA damage and repair, and cardiovascular disease in tribal populations.

Please click here to see full presentationBG-TC_Report-back_slides_110615_rev_Dec2015

Research Partners and Collaborators:  University of New Mexico College of Pharmacy (Johnnye Lewis, Ph.D., and Matthew Campen, Ph.D., co-directors); UNM Depts. Chemistry, Civil Engineering, Earth & Planetary Sciences; Southwest Research and Information Center; Indigenous Education Institute; Pueblo of Laguna; Red Water Pond Road Community Asosciation; Tachee Uranium Concerns Committee/Blue Gap – Tachee Chapter; Navajo Nation Environmental Agency; Stanford University; To Lani Enterprises Uranium Water Quality Environmental Justice Project; and University of Norte Dame, Center for Sustainable Energy.


The Navajo Birth Cohort Study Design, Progress, and Future Directions

by Johnnye Lewis, Ph.D.

The Navajo Birth Cohort Study addresses the need to study the multigenerational exposures, to understand the relationship between exposures, birth outcomes, and development key to ensuring that children can develop to their maximum potential.

Please click here to view this 53-page Powerpoint presentationUSEPApresentation20march202016_rev032516

Dr. Johnnye Lewis is the Director of the Community Environmental Health Program, University of New Mexico HSC-COP, Center for Native American Environmental Health Research Equity (Native EH Equity), DiNEH Projects – Navajo Birth Cohort Study.


Mother and Child Immune Responses in Association with Metal Exposures among Navajo Birth Cohort Study Participants

by Eszter Erdei, Debra MacKenzie, Curtis Miller, Bernadette Pacheco, Chris Shuey, Jennifer Ong, Joseph Hoover, and Johnnye Lewis

Window Rock, AZ – This powerpoint presentation was originally presented at the Navajo Nation Museum as an update on the Navajo Birth Cohort Study to the Navajo Nation Institutional Research Review Board on October 21, 2015 in Window Rock, AZ.

The Navajo Birth Cohort Study is a multi-agency prospective study to assess pregnancy outcomes and child development in relation to uranium mining and tailings waste exposures among Navajo mother-infant pairs.

Please click here to view presentation:  Pres_NBCS_cytokines_NNHRRB_conf_EE_101215

University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Community Environmental Health Program, Southwest Research and Information Center, Albuquerque, NM.

Proximity of uranium mine waste on the Navajo Nation increases serum ANA and IL17

by Debra MacKenzie, Ester Erdei, Jennifer Ong, Curtis Miller, and Johnnye Lewis


From 1948 to 1986, hundred of uranium mining and milling operations were conducted on the Navajo Nation lands. More than 1,000 un-remediated and abandoned mines and associated waste sites remain, leaving a legacy of potential mining waste exposure through drinking water and soil contamination, and from living in homes built with materials containing mining waste. The adverse health outcomes that can be directly attributed to chronic environmental exposure to legacy mine waste are not well established.


Our overall hypothesis is t hat environmental exposure to mixed metal legacy mine waste within the Navajo leads to alterations in immune responses or immune dysregulation resulting in increases in TH17 activity and autoimmunity.  

Please click here to see full poster presentation:  MacKenzie_etal_Immune_response_U_exposure_poster_Oct2014

UNM College of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences Community Environmental Health Program, Albuquerque, NM.



Assessing and Reducing Drinking Water Metal Exposure On The Navajo Nation Using Geospatial Technology

Assessing and Reducing Drinking Water Metal Exposure On The Navajo Nation Using Geospatial Technology 

by Joseph Hoover, Chris Shuey, Johnnye Lewis

There are 182 public water supplies on the Navajo Nation. An estimated 54,000 Navajo use water from unregulated drinking water sources.  This link shows some of the mapping of water sources on the Navajo Nation.

Please click this link to view the poster presentation: HooverJ_Metals_in_water_102214

Study conducted by University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, Community Environmental Health Program, College of Pharmacy, and Southwest Research and Information Center based in Albuquerque, NM.