Another potential pathway for contaminants to reach humans is through the food chain. ESER Program personnel sample multiple agricultural products, game animals, and garden lettuce around the INEEL and Southeast Idaho. Specifically, milk, wheat, potatoes, sheep, garden lettuce, big game, waterfowl and fish are sampled. Milk is sampled throughout the year. Sheep are sampled during the second quarter. Lettuce and wheat are sampled during the third quarter while potatoes and waterfowl are collected during the fourth quarter. Marmots (a.k.a. rock chucks), a food source for Native Americans, are sampled during the second quarter. Big game and fish are sampled as they come available. This report only covers milk sampled in the first quarter. See Appendix A for more details on foodstuff sampling.
Milk samples were collected weekly in Idaho Falls and monthly at ten other locations around the INEEL (see map). All samples were analyzed for gamma emitting radionuclides. A total of 39 milk samples were collected during the first quarter of 2001. Of all the milk samples collected, two (February 6, and March 6, 2001) from Dietrich had concentrations of 131I greater than their 2s uncertainty, however, immediate recounts of these samples gave results less than their 2s uncertainty levels. This is not unusual because 2.5% of the time, values that are tested against the 2s level will produce a false positive result. Cesium-137 was detected in the following samples at a concentration greater than the associated 2s uncertainty: Howe (January 9), Moreland (January 9), Carey (February 6), and Idaho Falls (March 14). However, immediate recounts of these samples gave results less than the associated 2s uncertainty. Data for all ESER milk samples, for first quarter 2001, are listed in Table C-7 (Appendix C).
No large game animals were sampled during the first quarter of 2001.