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We should oppose radiation exposure

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In the March 21 Opinion Kral Spaces article, “Sabotage of G&O is a stretch,” the author lumps all sources of radiation we are exposed to daily as “background” and trivializes the long-term health effects on our citizens to this proposed Holtec project of importing high-level radioactive waste.

Ionizing radiation (radioactivity) has the ability to damage human life by changing or killing cells in our body. Changing or damaging our cells, our DNA, can lead to a number of health concerns. Acute (short-term) exposure is rare but leads to radiation sickness, and can lead to death within hours or days. The second more common form is chronic (long-term) exposure, which leads to cancers, tumors, genetic abnormalities, among others.

We all are exposed to a certain level of naturally occurring radiation from our environment, or background radiation. The increase in radiation we are exposed to as a result of human activities is not naturally occurring background, but rather in addition to the background and the impact is accumulative over our lifetimes.

Here in New Mexico, the human activities are significant, including the Trinity Site (first atomic bomb test site), uranium mining and the Waste Isolation Pilot Project (WIPP), which is the storage repository for low-level transuranic radioactive waste from government weapons development, to name a few. Even the Kral Spaces article admitted that we here in Roswell are getting additional exposure from the WIPP facility.

Remembering that radiation remains for hundreds and even thousands of years, we New Mexico residents should strongly oppose any additional proposals that would increase our exposure. Importing all the nations’ most dangerous and highest-level radioactive waste for temporary storage (120 years) puts the health of all of us at risk.

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Jimi Gadzia
Roswell