Uranium exposure in american indian communities: Health, policy, and the way forward

Nicole Redvers, Ann Marie Chischilly, Donald Warne, Manuel Pino, Amber Lyon-Colbert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Uranium contamination of drinking-water sources on American Indian (AI) reservations in the United States is a largely ignored and underfunded public health crisis. With an estimated 40% of the headwaters in the western U.S. watershed, home to many AI reservation communities, being contaminated with untreated mine waste, the potential health effects have largely been unexplored. With AI populations already facing contin-ued and progressive economic and social marginalization, higher prevalence of chronic disease, and systemic discrimination, associations between various toxicant exposures, including uranium, and various chronic conditions, need further examination. OBJECTIVES: Uranium’s health effects, in addition to considerations for uranium drinking-water testing, reporting, and mitigation in reference to AI communities through the lens of water quality, is reviewed. DISCUSSION: A series of environmental health policy recommendations are described with the intent to proactively improve responsiveness to the water quality crisis in AI reservation communities in the United States specific to uranium. There is a serious and immediate need for better coordination of uranium-related drinking-water testing and reporting on reservations in the United States that will better support and guide best practices for uranium mitigation efforts. https://doi.org/10.1289/EHP7537.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number035002
JournalEnvironmental Health Perspectives
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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