Mothers Milk Project
at Clearwater Festival
We launched the Mothers Milk Project with
a press conference in New Canaan CT on June 5, 2008 with the help
of three goats – Cindy-Lu and her kids, Hannah and Henry
- and two young breastfeeding mothers.
The goal: to draw attention to the scientific link between the
routine 24/7 releases of radiation to the air by the two Indian
Point (“IP”) nuclear reactors and the disturbing high
incidences of cancer occurring downwind of the Hudson River plant.
Neither New York State
nor IP’s owners ever sampled goat milk; milk sampling was
limited to one dairy farm five miles to the northeast. Milk sampled
from that location between 1982 and 1992 spiked at 14 picocuries
per liter of Strontium-90 in 1983 and 7.25 in 1991, when the dairy
farm closed. Human breast milk was never sampled. The Mothers Milk
Project stepped in to fill the information vacuum. (The nuclear
industry itself credits goat milk as the most reliable biological
indicator of radiation in the environment.)
We set up colorful and fun exhibitions
at Pete Seeger’s annual Clearwater and Strawberry Festivals
with our beautiful goats and their nursing kids. (See photo display
above) The child-friendly exhibit encouraged lactating mothers to
donate samples of their breast milk for analysis at an independent
laboratory. Many did. Along with the goat milk, human mothers’
milk samples came back with measurable levels of the two radioisotopes
we tested for– strontium-90 and strontium-89 – released
during routine nuclear power plant operations.
For example, breast milk from a Hudson
River Valley mother in 2009 had a concentration of 3.3 picocuries
per liter of strontium-89. Because strontium-89 has a half-life
of only 50 days – half of its radioactivity has decayed by
the 50th day – its presence and detectability in a human milk
sample is a scientifically conclusive indicator that the milk was
contaminated with radioactivity by a recent fission event not very
far away – where else but Indian Point?
With the radiation releases come heightened cancer levels: cancer
incidence in Fairfield County, Connecticut – closest to Indian
Point - was 8 per cent and 7 per cent above the U.S. rates for males
and females respectively; the Fairfield County cancer death rate
for those under 25 was 4 per cent above the U.S. rate.
INDIAN POINT TO PRMANENTLY SHUT DOWN ON APRIL 30, 2021!
As we continued testing
goat and human milk, we called for the shutdown of Indian Point.
The good news: Indian Point Unit 2 permanently shut down in 2020;
Unit 1 had shut down in 1974. As of this posting – April 24,
2021 – Indian Point has six days to go before it too is permanently
shut down following waves of civic activism and New York State’s
tough stand on IP’s Clean Water Act permit (denying renewal
because its once-through cooling system was outmoded and environmentally
destructive). Visit Riverkeeper.org to watch a real-time historic
second-by-second countdown to shutdown.
NOW: MOTHERS MILK PROJECT
TAKES ON MILLSTONE!
Milk Project now focuses on the Millstone nuclear power station
in Waterford, Connecticut, notorious for its excessive radiation
releases and the high cancer rates in the communities surrounding
Millstone (not to mention its Clean Water Act permit, recently renewed
by DEEP despite its use of the same cooling technology as New York
State declared was too antiquated and environmentally destructive).
Connecticut’s DEEP (Department
of Energy and Environmental Protection) has discontinued what had
been a decades-long program of sampling dairy cow and goat milk
and having it analyzed for radioactivity levels. The winner? Millstone
and its investors. The losers? The public, especially women and
children, the most vulnerable, living nearby.
Goat milk which had been sampled
at a location in a residential neighborhood five miles downwind
of Millstone was alarmingly high in strontium-90 concentrations,
recorded as high as 44.4 and 55.5 picoCuries per liter; cancer cases
plague the neighborhood.
Equally alarming, the last data released
by DEEP dated October 3, 2017, recorded a concentration of .48 picoCuries
of strontium-89 from goat milk collected two miles downwind of Millstone
in a residential neighborhood in Waterford. The data also revealed
sr-89 concentrations in four other goat milk samples from the same
location: 2.00, 1.00, 2.00 and 1.00. Repeat: sr-89 is exceedingly
difficult to detect and measure because of its brief half-life.
DEEP has terminated its cow and goat milk sampling because it claims
it is unaware of any lactating cows or goats grazing within 10 miles
of Millstone. (For years, DEEP used to sample cow/goat milk at locations
beyond 10 miles from Millstone, frequently reporting positive results.)
Time for the mothers and the goats
in Connecticut to step in: especially those living downwind of Millstone
in southeastern Connecticut.
If you are a lactating mother and would like to have your milk tested
for sr-90 and sr-89,
please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have a goat or would like to adopt
a goat to contribute goat milk samples,
please contact us at: email@example.com.
If you are not a lactating mother and cannot adopt a goat but still
want to help, please make a financial donation and mail it to:
Mothers Milk Project, c/o Nancy
Burton, P.O. Box 227, Redding Ridge CT 06876
And please follow this site for updates!
Mothers Milk Project is Launched:
CONFERENCE New Canaan, Connecticut
June 5, 2008
The Mothers Milk Project is being launched
on June 5, 2008 to begin a systematic sampling of mothers milk produced
by humans and other mammals living within 50 miles of the Indian Point
Nuclear Power Station in Buchanan, New York.
Indian Point's owner and the New York
State Department of Health stopped sampling cow's milk near Indian
Point in 1991 and have never tested human breast milk.
The project is an unpredecented campaign
to create a database of findings of the potential presence of radioisotopes
in milk of mammalians, including humans, near the nuclear power plant.
Indian Point, in common with all nuclear
power plants, is designed to routinely release fission products into
the air. These include strontium-90, which has a half-life of 30 years
and remains biologically active for 600 years. Strontium-90 mimics
calcium in its chemical composition and is readily taken up by bone
cells and teeth, where it continuously emits pulses of energy which
disrupt the functions of nearby cells. Strontium-90 exposure is linked
to bone cancer, leukemia, diseases of the immune system and cancer
of soft tissue including breast and lung. Strontium-90 is only one
of more than 100 radioisotopes routinely released by Indian Point.
All are carcinogens and all.are most harmful to young children and
We encourage breastfeeding mothers
to participate in this program by donating a cup of their breast milk
monthly. Each sample will be divided into four parts: one for the
New York State Department of Health, one for Entergy, Indian Point's
owner, one for the project's independent laboratory, and one to be
retained by the project. There is no cost and all samples will be
taken confidentially with results anonymous.
The Mothers Milk Project will also include dairy cow and goat milk
samplings. Other mammals may be included as well.
The Mothers Milk Project is designed to inform the community about
a known hazard - radiation - which is insidious because it cannot
be seen, tasted, smelled or detected except with sophisticated equipment
and which is biologically harmful at any degree of exposure.
Please return to this website for future updates.
To donate milk to the Mothers
Milk Project, email us! DONATE@mothersmilkproject.org
songwriter Pete Seeger joined Mothers Milk Project leaders as they
accepted a donation of mother's milk at the Strawberry Festival in
Beacon, New York on June 15, 2008
Deo and Theo, 3-week-old babies of Mothers Milk Project participant
Note to Breastfeeding Moms: Bring us a sample of your milk!
The Hawk Watch Festival and Green Bazaar takes place Saturday September
19 and Sunday September 20 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Audubon Greenwich,
613 Riversville Road. $10 for adults 18 and older, $7 for youth
3 and older, and free for under 3. 203-869-5272, www.greenwich.audubon.org.