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UC Hosting Health Q&A Session For People Who Lived Near Fernald During Its Uranium Processing Days

overhead image of processing plants
Wikimedia Commons
Aerial view of the Fernald Feed Materials Production Center.

The Fernald Medical Monitoring Program - now known as the Fernald Community Cohort - is marking 30 years. There's an open house Tuesday for people who lived near the site during its days as a uranium processing plant.

UC's Center for Environmental Genetics is hosting a Science Cafe to answer health questions about exposure and disease related to when the plant was operational. Dr. Susan Pinney says people who lived nearby still have lots of concerns about their health.

"We had been getting calls," she says. "We sent out a newsletter and questionnaire last fall and recognized the need of the community for more information."

Attendees will write down their questions, which will be answered by a panel of experts. The panel includes Susan Pinney, Ph.D.; Jeanette Buckholz, MSN; Nicholas Newman, DO; and Michelle Burbage, Ph.D., all with the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.

"There's no exposure anymore to anyone who is living near to where the uranium refinery site used to be, but there is the legacy exposure to uranium and the risk of health effects," says Pinney. "Just because the exposure has stopped, with something like uranium and radon, the risk for certain health effects does continue."

The panel can also answer questions about the data and biospecimens from the Fernald Community Cohort. Pinney describes the event as an informal discussion session, adding there won't be any lectures or PowerPoint presentations.

UC's Center for Environmental Genetics will follow up the next week with a health fair Sept. 22. That's for all people living in the Fernald area, including Ross, Fairfield and Colerain.

According to a statement, this is "an opportunity to have your blood pressure or urine checked, to learn about screening tests for various types of cancers, and to have us calculate your individual risk score for those cancers. Pharmacy students will be available to discuss how over-the-counter medications may interact with prescribed medications. We will have information about the research studies being conducted using the data and biospecimens of the Fernald Medical Monitoring Program, which is now the Fernald Community Cohort and will be available to discuss future plans for research with you. We are providing this health fair as a service to the community – you do not need to have been part of the medical monitoring program."

Both the Science Cafe (Tuesday, Sept. 14 at 6:30 p.m.) and the health fair (Wednesday, Sept. 22 from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.) will be held at the Crosby Township Community Center.

UC is a financial supporter of Cincinnati Public Radio.

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.