Third Public Meeting
Public Comments / Questions and Answers
(These statements are NOT direct quotes. All statements are paraphrased. "Team" refers to either one or more members of the project team who responded to a questions or comment. )
Public: What are you focusing on regarding materials?
Response: Use, containment, toxicity, quantities, evidence of off-site release or release into the environment. For many materials, we are seeing that a lot of the original toxicity research was conducted at LANL.
Public: Were you involved in the Hanford search?
Response (Tom Widner): No, Charles Miller and Paul Renard were.
(Charles Miller): Two or so years ago the CDC released a draft form of the dose reconstruction study of Hanford. Some people were not happy with the way the report was released. The biggest problem with a study like Hanford is that an epidemiology study will never establish whether or not a personal illness was directly caused by a release. Hanford is one of the reasons we are conducting the LANL study in the manner we are. Hanford was a directed study. There never was a search of ALL records. That's why we are looking at EVERYTHING carefully. We are committed to completing Phase 1 right now and to establishing a very good historical record of LANL operations.
Public: If the study showed thyroid cancer four times higher than elsewhere, would a full-scale study be conducted?
Response (Charles Miller): Cancer rates are one piece of information that is considered.
Public: Have you published a list of criteria that cause you to flag a document?
Response (Tom Widner): We prepared a search plan that contains some criteria. We also rely on the knowledge and experience of the researchers. We can share search plans that describe the type of information we are looking for.
(Paul Renard): CDC does not want ChemRisk to do a lot of analysis in this phase. The second phase is reserved for the analysis of records.
Public: What happens if you cannot declassify records?
Response (Paul Renard): We have always been able to release all relevant records, although some come out sanitized.
(Charles Miller): We have never found dose information that has been nationally sensitive. It was always able to be sanitized and released showing the pertinent information. I'm aware this site is different. We will tell the public if a document can't be released.
Public: Does the focus include things that came here and then went off-site? I mentioned earlier Utah and the NTS as concerns for exposure to people working there. Workers here had the potential for a lot more exposure.
Response (Mary Schubauer-Berigan): NIOSH has a study going on regarding luekemia. The agency is interested in information from this study. They are providing NIOSH with a log of information that NIOSH may find useful.
(Tom Widner): The focus is on off-site exposure, but we are also cataloging worker exposures for NIOSH.
Public: Can you elaborate on where the documents will be held for public review?
Response (Tom Widner): The official DOE public reading room is at the Zimmerman Library at UNM in Albuquerque. We are still looking for a more local public reading room. Currently we are making previously scanned records available and will start sending documents there in a couple of weeks.
(Paul Renard): This is one of the hurdles we face. Once we were told the reading room was on Kirtland Air Force Base. The UNM library is more accessible, but we still want to get something more local. We will announce when the reading room is set up and the documents are available.
Public: I know LANL information was found at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). How much has already been shipped out?
Response (Tom Widner): There is a lot of ORNL stuff here--a lot of sharing of information.
Public: Off-site test documentation is available in Nevada at the reading room there.
Response (Ken Silver): The Rio Arriba Environmental Health Partnership steering committee sent a letter to Bill Richardson to get a local library in Espanola. The letter was sent about five weeks ago. No response has been received yet.
Public: We also sent him a letter to get more declassifiers made available.
Response (Paul Renard): We are wrestling with the declassification system. The University of California has a contract announcement out to get more people made available in the short term and get classification review officers on a permanent basis for the project.
(Tom Widner): What Paul just said is an important step. We can't do much with the documents in the boxes until they are released. We want to make them available to the public as soon as possible. Sample documents that were released earlier this year were useful to several members of the public.
Public: Where are you at with the FACA?
Response (Paul Renard): A FACA is the only way the federal government listens to consensus advice. The RAEHP and others around Espanola are not interested in a FACA. CDC is very interested in looking at alternative ways to enhance public involvement. FACAs are expensive, and we are unable to conduct them properly at all 17 dose reconstruction locations. We pledge to have regular public meetings at various locations to give updates on findings and hurdles. If you are not on the mailing list please sign up, and please spread the word.