Why Is Kidney Disease Striking Native Americans in Record Numbers?
Kidney disease prevalence among Native Americans living in the Arizona region have been on the rise for the past several years with parents losing entire groups of children to a form of the disorder the citizens refer to as ‘Navajo neuropathy.’
Navajo nation, in northeastern Arizona was the site of extensive mining activity that blasted uranium out of a location near many of the locals homes. Unsurprisingly, after the mining commenced, local drinking water supplies became contaminated and those who drank of the well would eventually go on to contract cancer, liver disease, kidney disease, and sometimes, all three.
From 1944 to 1986, over 30 million tons of uranium have been mined from Navajo land by mining companies. A sole mesa is the only remnant of the ‘Claim 28’ mine in Arizona and the springs housed within now exhibit uranium levels approximately five times greater than those of safe drinking water, according to environmental health scientists who’ve studied the area.
This mesa is all that is left of the Claim 28 mine in northeastern Arizona. Scientists say the springs where many people drank have uranium levels at least five times greater than of safe drinking water standards. Unfortunately, government red-tape attributed largely to institutional racism against Native Americans as well as the state of the land itself have made it nearly impossible for locals to achieve freedom from the uranium contamination for at least several generations. These tragic circumstances serve as a cautionary tale to those companies and organizations wreaking havoc on the environment. The ultimate cost always far outweighs any short-term gains.