Lactating Mothers Invited to Provide Milk Samples!
Nancy Burton, of Mothball Millstone, is spearheading with others in Fairfield, Westchester and Rockland counties a project to sample mother's milk for possible traces of strontium-90 and other radionuclides which may be linked to Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant in Buchanan, New York.
New York State and Indian Point's former owners once had a milk sampling program limited to one farm five miles from Indian Point. That farm shut down in 1991 and the program of sampling milk from farm animals ended.
Entergy, Indian Point's current owner, does sample other items in the environment but as for milk, it has this to say in its Annual Radiological Environmental Monitoring Reports:
"There are no animals producing milk for human consumption within five miles of Indian Point."
Obviously, they are neglecting to consider producers of human milk!
If Entergy were to look beyond the five-mile radius (an arbitrary boundary), it would find many locations where cows, goats and humans produce milk for human consumption.
Goat milk is considered a particularly reliable indicator of strontium-90 presence. Strontium-90 escapes from Indian Point initially as a gas, radioactive krypton, vented to the air. Krypton quickly decays to strontium-90, a particulate, which falls to earth in rainfall and through weather movement. Milk-producing animals breathe the strontium-90 and ingest it in their water and by grazing on grass and browsing on shrubs. People ingest it in just the same way in their drinking water and through the food chain.
Strontium-90 chemically mimics calcium. Mistaking the poison for a nutrient, the body welcomes strontium-90 into the bones and teeth where its energy at a cellular level disrupts nearby cells, triggering bone cancer, interference with the production of red and white blood cells in the bone marrow leading to leukemia and diseases of the immune system. Unborn children and babies are especially vulnerable to its effects because their cells are rapidly dividing.
Near the Millstone Nuclear Power Station in Waterford, Connecticut, where goat milk sampled 5.5 miles from the plant has tested very very high for strontium-90, there is a high incidence of leukemia, early childhood mortality, miscarriage and bone cancer and other cancers among children. Breast cancer rates there are among the highest in the state.
Entergy has the technical means to sample milk for evidence of radionuclides: at its Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant near Brattleboro, Vermont, it samples milk at 4 locations (from .8 miles away to 22 miles away). There is no valid reason why Entergy should not also be sampling milk in the region surrounding Indian Point: 22 million people live within 50 miles of Indian Point. Epidemiological studies are confirming a relation between elevated levels of strontium-90 in baby teeth collected near Indian Point and proximity to the plant, as well as high cancer rates among children close to the plant.
New York State also has the technical means to resume and expand a milk-sampling program: its laboratory in Albany is well equipped to do so.
We are creating the Mother's Milk Project to encourage the State of New York and Entergy to resume milk sampling in the region surrounding Indian Point and to expand it to a 50-mile radius and to expand it to include not just cow’s milk and goat’s milk but also human mother’s milk.
We are launching the campaign - the “Mother’s Milk Project” - for resumption and expansion of milk-sampling at a press conference at a private home in New Canaan, Connecticut (20 or so miles downwind of Indian Point), on Thursday, June 5, at 12 noon. Adorable baby goats and their mother will be present to demonstrate the mechanics of lactation in the animal kingdom.
We especially invite lactating Moms to join us in this campaign, come to the press conference, share their milk for laboratory sampling and bring their babies and friends!
We are anticipating that once we collect samples of mother’s milk, we will split each sample into four parts: one each for New York State, Entergy and our own independent laboratory, retaining one part for safe keeping. All results will be anonymous except as to location of residence (by town and distance from Indian Point). A cup of mother’s milk will suffice, although larger samples are encouraged.
Ultimately, we will plot the results on a map with Indian Point at the center. The results will provide information to develop a data base to inform ourselves and the public on this important topic.
In the coming days, we are planning to establish a website, www.MothersMilkProject.Org. It will describe the project in detail and link to other sites. Photographs of participating mothers - and babies! - are encouraged.
By way of background, Nancy Burton lives in Redding, Connecticut (30 miles downwind of Indian point), with her husband, William H. Honan, a writer and former editor with The New York Times. Their summer cottage in Mystic, Connecticut, is 10 miles downwind of the Millstone Nuclear Power Station.
For 10 years, Nancy has served as director of the Connecticut Coalition Against Millstone, a grass-roots community watchdog organization. Our website is www.MothballMillstone.org. You can visit the site to learn more about Dominion’s reports of elevated levels of strontium-90 in goat milk sampled near Millstone.
147 Cross Highway
Redding Ridge CT 06876