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Uranium Mines Still Pose Serious Health Threat on Navajo Land

EMSL Analytical offers advanced radiological testing services for environmental samples


In 2010, a Navajo cattle rancher named Larry Gordy discovered an abandoned uranium mine in the middle of his grazing land in Cameron, AZ, according to the New York Times. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) visited the site and found dangerously high levels of uranium, but the agency has yet to begin the clean-up.
The EPA found that the radioactivity there measured one million counts per minute, meaning that two days there would expose a person to more external radiation than the Nuclear Regulatory Commission considers safe for an entire year. A dose would lead directly to malignant tumors and other health problems. 
Despite the site’s seclusion, evidence of the human presence there is clear: crushed beer cans and shell casings litter the ground. Cattle droppings also dot the area near the mine, meaning that people eating those livestock are being subjected to radiation through their food as well.
Since first seeing the Cameron site in 2010, EPA has still not placed warning signs around the area.
The mine in Cameron is one of hundreds of such sites identified across 27,000 square miles of Navajo territory in Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico, according to the New York Times. Authorities say the slow clean-up process is hindered by the cost—hundreds of millions of dollars—and bureaucratic disagreements.
Until the sites are cleaned, however, Navajos will continue to be exposed to uranium and its decay products, radon and radium. This means that they are at great risk for bone, liver, breast, and lung cancer, among other health problems.
“EMSL Analytical has been consistently at the forefront of offering radiological analytical services to regulating bodies, industry, and the general public,” reported Garrett Ray, R.S.O., Radiological Manager at EMSL. “Our cutting-edge laboratory provides testing for a number of elements, including uranium, radon, gross alpha, cesium, and other radiological areas of concern.”
For more information on EMSL’s testing services, please contact EMSL at (800) 220-3675, visit, or email

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a full service testing company analytical services for environmental, indoor air quality (IAQ), industrial hygiene, forensics and materials science, consumer products, food safety, PCR, pharmaceutical, asbestos, lead, and radiological samples. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations, as well as state and federal regulating bodies. Please see our website for a complete listing of accreditations.


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