"CHURCH ROCK, N.M. – Angie Hood grew up in a remote valley tucked along the edge of the Navajo Nation. On hot summer days, Hood and her three siblings would tend to the family’s sheep, play football in a steep-banked arroyo and explore the piñon-studded mesas. Then, to cool off, they would splash in a pool of water that streamed from a pipe.
At the time, the Hood children had no idea they were playing in radioactive waste.
Dangerous remnants of the region’s Cold War boom, more than 500 uranium mines were abandoned on and near the Navajo reservation, now home to about 175,000 people. Thousands of families like Hood’s unwittingly used water from contaminated wells and springs to drink, bathe, hydrate their livestock and irrigate their gardens. In some cases, people built homes from construction materials tainted with mine and mill wastes."