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Report: Trinity Site atomic test caused health problems

Brittany Costello
February 10, 2017 05:19 PM

Frustration is an understatement. Residents living in the Tularosa Basin say many of those living in the area were not told about the after-effects of the 1945 atomic bomb test at Trinity Site.

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There are many reports of residents suffering from rare forms of cancer. Many who are sick want acknowledgment and compensation from the U.S. government. A new 80-page report released Friday shed more light on the kind of impact those diseases and cancers are having on our residents by exposing the lack of care available and the cost.

The four counties that surround the Trinity Test Site -- Lincoln, Otero, Sierra and Socorro counties -- seem to have become the land of the forgotten

“There is a moral and ethical imperative to take care of the people who were damaged as a result of that test,” said Tina Cordova, co-founder of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium.

But that's never been done. Cordova said the many families downwind of the radioactive blast have been given nothing; no compensation, not even an acknowledgment.

“There's been a fund set up called the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act that's been compensating those people when they've been made sick because of their over-exposure to radiation,” Cordova said.

But the state where the atomic bomb was born was left off that fund.  Instead, the money goes to other test sites like Nevada.

“In my mind, it's very discriminatory when the government chooses to help one group of people but chooses to ignore another,” Cordova said.

The downwinders group worked with a team of doctors to survey 800 people who live in the basin. Their results found hundreds of cases of cancer and rare diseases.

It's validation for what downwinders told 4 Investigates more than a year ago that the radioactivity wasn't just in the air; that the fallout affected the food, the livestock, the ground, the water; and that it affected residents' genetic compositions. DNA was altered and passed down through generations.

“I find it so terribly disheartening when I talk to people and they tell me stories like 'I guess I’m going to have to sell some cows so I can get the treatment that I need' or 'we're having a bake sale to get the pain medicine I need,’” Cordova said.

There will be three public meetings to present these survey findings. The first one is Friday in Tularosa at the community center at 6 p.m. There is another meeting Saturday in Socorro at the youth center at 12 p.m. The third is on the  Feb. 15 in Albuquerque at the Peace and Justice Center at 6 p.m.

Credits

Brittany Costello

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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