Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium

Point of Contact

  • Tina Cordova;  Director and Founder
  • Contact Info: tcordova@queston.net (preferred); 505-897-6787
  • Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Website: trinitydownwinders.com

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The Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium was started in 2005 by Tina Cordova and the late Fred Tyler along with other residents of Tularosa. They were formed to bring attention to the negative health effects suffered by the people of New Mexico as a result of overexposure to radiation from the first US atmospheric nuclear weapons test at the Trinity Test Site on July 16, 1945, and to compile data on the cancers and other diseases that plague the communities surrounding the Trinity site. Since their founding, TBDC has also advocated for compensation of the Trinity “Downwinders” – the communities exposed to radiation from nuclear tests. In 1945, Tina Cordova’s family lived in a small village roughly 40 miles from the Trinity site. In addition to research and advocacy, Tina has emphasized the importance of sharing the stories of families like her own that were exposed to dangerous and deadly levels of radiation exposure.

Successes

  • Securing funding to complete a qualitative Health Impact Assessment to research the impact that an amended RECA would have on the public health of New Mexicans.
  • Collecting roughly 1200 health surveys from Tularosa Basin “Downwinders,” documenting health consequences from testing.
  • Successfully lobbying for a Senate hearing in 2018 on RECA expansion legislation.
  • Working with members of Congress to improve language in the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act Amendments of 2019 to include more equitable eligibility requirements. 
  • Organizing a speaker tour in 2019 with Dr. Joseph Shonka author of “Trinity: The First Dirty Bomb,” who has written about the catastrophic health impacts of the Trinity Nuclear Test in 1945.

Current Projects

  • Advocacy on the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act Amendments of 2019, which would expand eligibility to include New Mexican Downwinders: S.947/H.R.3783.
  • Pursuing a grant to complete additional health assessments of New Mexican communities affected by nuclear testing. 
  • Educational work in the community and nationally about the health effects of nuclear testing in the Southwest US on New Mexico, including national media work.

Opportunities for Collaboration

  • Lobbying and other advocacy support for RECA expansion, including support in developing a comprehensive national lobbying strategy.
  • Developing curriculum for local schools to teach the history and consequences of nuclear testing in New Mexico.
  • Research to collect and test water and soil samples in exposed areas. The US government collected samples decades ago, but has never publicly released results of these tests. 
  • Raising awareness and educating the public about the work of Dr. Shonka (above), to oppose the false narrative spread by the US government that the Trinity test did not harm local Downwind communities. 
  • TBDC is interested in completing a FOIA request to learn more about the results of early government testing of soil and water samples near the Trinity Test Site.
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