Is Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge Safe? The Science Says Yes - blog post image

Colorado Public Health Department Challenges Myths about Rocky Flats

The $10-billion environmental clean-up of the Rocky Flats plant site concluded more than 12 years ago. Today, environmental and health agencies, including the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), continuously monitor the site – including the former buffer zone that now is Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge – to reiterate to folks that the area is perfectly safe for refuge visitors and nearby communities.


Over the last few years, a small group of activists have used misinformation and fear in an attempt to stop taxpayers from having access to their national wildlife refuge. Experts at federal agencies from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Energy (DOE) to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) continue to discredit activist allegations with overwhelming scientific proof of the area’s safety and suitability for all types of use.

And this year, Colorado’s health experts at CDPHE kicked-off its own myth-busting campaign to discredit the most common false allegations made about Rocky Flats.

Here’s one repeatedly-made fake news allegation: That information about Rocky Flats safety is somehow being withheld from the public. The fact is that state and federal agencies make available to the public comprehensive records about the area’s risks, environmental clean-up and maintenance. Interested? Start with these:

EPA’s Region 8 provides site documents and data on its publicly available Rocky Flats web page.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Rocky Flats web page contains site documents, answers to frequently asked questions and links to various health studies.

Here are the CDPHE’s “Six Myths and Misunderstandings” concerning Rocky Flats at the refuge:

  • Myth #1: The level of radiation at Rocky Flats is abnormal and dangerous.
  • Myth #2: Rocky Flats data and records are not available to the public.
  • Myth #3: No standards have been established by EPA or CDPHE for airborne radionuclides.
  • Myth #4: Parkway construction will entrain Pu in air and will certainly endanger populations.
  • Myth #5: The distribution and risk of off-site contamination is unknown.
  • Myth #6: CDPHE is not enforcing regulations when it takes no action following surface water quality exceedances at the points of compliance.

In late 2017, Dr. Larry Wolk, Executive Director and Chief Medical Officer for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) issued this public letter to address misinformation and fear regarding the safety of the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge. That letter specifically rebuts the myths outlined above.

The Denver Post, in a 2017 editorial, also highlighted the accessibility to data that counters the misinformation that exists and detailed the data points that are continuously monitored to ensure public safety and ensure no radiation risks. That editorial can be found HEREThe Rocky Flats Plant has always inspired complicated, competing and contentious perspectives, but the data and science is clear. Through sophisticated, costly and comprehensive clean up deployment the site is safe and supportive to a growing wildlife population and the recreational activities for all who visit.