Staff Directory

Human Health Risk Assessment for the Valles Caldera and Native American Tribal Village

Client: Native American Pueblo
Location: North central, New Mexico

Challenge. Evaluate risks to the health of tribal people resulting from potential releases of radionuclides from nearby Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).

Project-Valles-Caldera-RiskSolution. INTERA has evaluated human health risks for both the Valles Caldera, a volcanic highland located adjacent to LANL and the Pueblo village proper. We analyzed soil, surface water, sediment, and air quality data to determine whether a statistically significant difference exists between the point-of-compliance data set and LANL’s regional statistical reference. The data was grouped according to media, location, and date of collection, and analyzed statistically according to sample populations that are spatially and temporally related. The risk assessment model, based on standardized risk assessment methods, includes risk pathways that are unique to the tribal people, including ingestion of wild game, plants, surface water, and crops that are irrigated with water from the potentially impacted watershed and religious ceremonies. Information regarding tribal lifeways has been obtained through interviews with elders and cultural leaders. The risk model was developed to fit the population of the “Tribal Person” and incorporates additional exposure parameters that are pueblo-specific.