“Downwinders” Interviews: Israel Martinez, Uranium Miner

Israel Martinez worked for United Nuclear Partners as a motor man at section 23 in the Grants Mineral Belt, New Mexico. He also worked at section 25, mining uranium underground for five years from May 17, 1977 until June 1982.

Uranium MinerIn September of 1999, Israel was diagnosed with chronic pulmonary fibrosis lung disorder related to uranium exposure.

“My wife has a thryroid illness; my daughter has thyroid illness and my daughter Gloria had a cyst taken from her back and might also have thyroid disease. We don’t know where this illness comes from. We don’t have it on either side of the family.”

Israel is a member of Post ’71, a group of uranium miners who worked in the mines after 1971 and their families. Miners who worked before that year are compensated for a small number of uranium linked illnesses through RECA, the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act. Post ’71 has documented illnesses and problems among these later miners and their families and advocates including them in RECA compensation. The group also wants to expand the number of health conditions included in RECA.

Families of uranium miners are affected as they come into contact with uranium dust, brought into their homes each day when the miner returns from the mine.
–Grants, New Mexico 


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