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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.

VICTORY: 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!

     Mothers 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: info@mothersmilkproject.org.
If you have a goat or would like to adopt a goat to contribute goat milk samples,

please contact us at: info@mothersmilkproject.org.
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:

PRESS 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 developing babies.
      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



Legendary 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

Meet Deo and Theo, 3-week-old babies of Mothers Milk Project participant Cindy-Lu!
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.