Los Alamos National Laboratory monitors levels of chemicals, including radionuclides, in plants, animals, and animal products eaten by people to determine if substances released as a result of historical or current Laboratory operations have the potential to impact human health via the food chain.
Foodstuffs are collected from Laboratory property, perimeter locations, and downstream of the Laboratory, and are compared with foodstuffs collected from regional background locations.
Foodstuffs are monitored to ensure that there are no harmful effects to human health, via the food chain, due to releases from Laboratory operations.
What we collect
- Wild foods such as lambs quarter, purslane, chokecherry, piñon, and acorns
- Domestic crops such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and grains
- Animal products including milk, honey, and eggs
- Deer, elk, and other game animals (often harvested from road kill)
- Fish and crayfish
Why we do it
- To determine if releases from Laboratory operations affect concentrations of radionuclides, metals, or organic chemicals in edible plants, animals, and animal products
- To determine if chemical concentration in foodstuffs are changing over time
- To estimate the potential radiation dose and chemical exposure risk to humans
The results, interpretation, and discussion of the data are available in the Annual Site Environmental Report.