In July of 1945, the U.S. government tested the first atomic weapon in south-central New Mexico. The test was code-named Trinity. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is carrying out a study to quantitatively estimate the number of cancer cases in New Mexico (past and future) that may be related to the nuclear test. To accomplish this task, the research team will use published data on radioactive fallout from the test, information from previous studies of radiation-exposed populations, and descriptions of the typical diet and lifestyle of people living in New Mexico in 1945, which will be drawn from the published literature and collected through targeted interviews to be carried out in New Mexico.
The NCI plans to carry out in-depth interviews to ascertain the typical diet of Native American, Hispanic/Latino, and Chicano populations living in New Mexico in the mid-1940s and to rely on more commonly available information about diet and lifestyle for whites. These interviews are an important step in developing radiation doses estimates resulting from Trinity.
To determine how best to collect these data, NCI investigators have engaged in discussions with academics with expertise in Native American and Hispanic lifestyles in the 1940s, as well as advocates and local community leaders. NCI has entered into partnership with a key community group to facilitate the identification of elders who can be interviewed about their historical knowledge regarding lifestyle and diet at the time of the Trinity test.
The investigators plan to publish their work—the dose reconstruction methods and findings, and cancer risk estimates, as well as the dietary and lifestyle findings resulting from this formative research—in the peer-reviewed scientific literature and in community newsletters in English and Spanish so it is available to other researchers and the broader community.
For more information about the study contact Steven L. Simon, Ph.D.
View a Spanish translation of this page: Estudio sobre las dosis de radiación y los riesgos de cáncer causados por la prueba atómica “Trinity” realizada en 1945
To request an interview with a DCEG investigator, contact the NCI Office of Media Relations: