Agricultural Products and Wildlife Sampling
Another potential pathway for contaminants to reach humans is through the food chain. The ESER Program samples multiple agricultural products and game animals from around the INEEL and Southeast Idaho. Specifically, milk, wheat, potatoes, garden lettuce, sheep, big game, waterfowl, and marmots 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. See Table A-1, Appendix A, for more details on agricultural product and wildlife sampling. This section discusses results from milk, and large game sampled during the second quarter of 2002.
Milk samples were collected weekly in Idaho Falls and monthly at eight other locations around the INEEL (Figure 12) during the second quarter of 2002. All samples were analyzed for gamma emitting radionuclides. Samples are analyzed for 90Sr during the second and fourth quarters.
Certain areas of the INEEL are open to grazing under lease agreements managed by the Bureau of Land Management (Figure 13 below). Every year ESER Program personnel collect samples of sheep that have grazed on these leased areas, either just before or shortly after the sheep leave the INEEL. This occurs during the second quarter of the year. For the calendar year 2002, sheep were collected from the selected INEEL allotments before they were moved off site. Three flocks were sampled, including a control flock in Dubois from the Experimental Sheep Station, a flock from a southern INEEL allotment, and a flock from a northern INEEL allotment. Two sheep were taken from each flock for tissue analysis. Thyroid, muscle, and liver tissue were collected and analyzed for gamma emitting radionuclides.
Levels of 131I are of particular interest in thyroids because of this organ's ability to accumulate iodine. No 131I was found in any of the samples.
Analysis for 137Cs showed
results greater than the 2s analytical uncertatinty in three samples
from three different sheep: one liver sample collected from the Northern
allotment animal on May 14, and two muscle samples collected May 15,
from sheep off the Southern allotment. All concentrations of 137Cs
were similar to those found in both onsite and offsite sheep samples
during recent years. Data for all sheep samples are listed in Appendix
C, Table C-11.
No large game animals were sampled
during the second quarter of 2002.