Study Purpose

The purpose of the NBCS to evaluate the potential association between environmental contaminants (i.e., uranium and other heavy metal exposures) and reproductive birth outcomes, by recruiting Navajo mothers, assessing their uranium exposure at key developmental milestones, and then following their children post-birth to evaluate any associations with birth defects or developmental delays. Exposures will be assessed through bio-monitoring, home assessments, and surveys. The information generated by this study may be of value in developing programs to mitigate environmental uranium exposure. Additionally, the study will provide additional baseline data on exposures, behaviors, and chronic health that may be of value in developing health education and outreach to increase prenatal care utilization.

Research Goals
  • Evaluate potential associations between uranium exposure during pregnancy and birth defects/developmental delays
  • Assess potential interactions with other heavy metals in the environment (arsenic, mercury)
  • Determine activities and source contributions that lead to increased maternal/fetal uranium exposure
    • Use biomonitoring to assess environmental exposures and evaluate impacts at different developmental stages
Applied Public Health Goals
  • Increase the use of prenatal care among Navajo mothers through community outreach and education
  • Ensure early intervention to reduce the impact of birth defects and developmental delays
  • Strengthen the environmental health capacity of Navajo area agencies
  • Improve understanding of risks to guide policies that prioritize effective public health prevention and intervention
Page last reviewed: June 30, 2015