Environmental Health & Mining
Lunch and Learn – Free Event April 6th, 2024 1-4 PM

Main St. Jerome – Eugene Jerome, a major financier of the United Verde Copper Company. 1899 Inc.

Mineral Research Inc., Processing Plant – Cottonwood Slag Pile

Where : Clemenceau Gym, Old Cottonwood School House
1 N Willard St, Cottonwood, AZ 86326
When : Saturday, April 6, 2024
Time : 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Live Presentation, capacity 75

Press Coverage Zoom Link Sign up on Zoom Link to hear live. Zoom capacity 500. You must sign up to attend through QR Code or Text and fill out your name, email and cell phone.

A Deeper Dive Into Mining & Effects on Health and What You Will Learn

  • Seventy Years of Mining history in the Verde-Valley. Cleopatra Hill sits at about 5,000 feet above sea level. 1876 Angus McKinnon & Morris Ruffner filed the first claim. In 1882 a New York investor, Eugene Murray Jerome, purchased mineral rights from a small group of prospectors and began to finance the mining operation, United Verde Copper Company. In 1899, the telephone arrived and Jerome became an official City. By 1929, Jerome gained a population of 15,000, becoming the richest business in the US with Wine, Women and $$. Also called the Wicked City!
  • Three Smelters were created over the years to process Copper, Gold and Silver located in Jerome Clarkdale and Clemenceau- now Cottonwood. To process the final product they would crush ore, sift for metal, then add chemicals, and heat to separate the precious metals, leaving mining waste containing arsenic, lead, cadmium.… Tons of smoke containing heavy metals permeated the air. Along the waste came tailings and large slag piles, To make 1 ton of copper, the process would leave behind roughly 2.5 tons of waste.
  • The future of this waste and contamination is a concern for current citizens and our future generations. A review of where we are on testing, remediation and future reclamation; A review of current Up Sourcing to get rid of the remaining piles.
  • Jerome / Clarkdale: Freeport-McMoRan purchased the closed mining operation from Phelps Dodge in 1950’s. A review of what is currently happening in the old mining areas. Freeport-McMoRan continues mining reclamation work. Review past and current situations with the Verde River around the slag pile and mining.
  • University of Arizona: U of A has been conducting harvest studies; (looking at heavy metals in rainwater, soil, and plants in multiple mining towns like ours.) U of A has written the Verde Valley into an upcoming grant to study and educate our community around mining waste, health, and prevention.
  • University of Arizona: Will discuss their garden roots program. Is the soil you are growing your produce in safe to eat? This section will lead into an upcoming workshop on May 4th.
  • Review of Lead Toxicity and childhood exposure along with information on reducing your risk of environmental exposure to dust.

Dr. Shaida Sina, Facilitator
Dr. Shaida Sina is the Medical Director and Physician at Breakthrough Medicine in Cottonwood specializing in longevity and preventative medicine. Dr. Sina is a member of the Association of Environmental Medicine, National Association of Environmental Professionals, and attends weekly medical rounds with Environmental Medical Education International.She began studying the mining contamination situation in June of 2023.

Dr. Sina Graduated from the University of Maryland school of medicine with a Bachelor’s of Science in Medical Technology & Research. She worked in the field of laboratory medicine for 12 years. Dr. Sina graduated with a Doctorate from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in 2001. She did postdoctoral training in Environmental Medicine at Southwest College. She enjoys the Sedona-Verde Valley as her home and has practiced Integrative Medicine for the last 20 years in the Verde Valley.

January 1, 2024, Dr. Sina wrote a petition to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), a division of Center for Disease Control (CDC). She requested ATSDR to use environmental health tools to investigate possible pathway toxins that are coming into our community (Jerome, Clarkdale, & Cottonwood). The focus was to be in Cottonwood around the slag pile and where the old Clemenceau Smelter stood. ATSDR has not yet approved the Request because there must first be testing. 5 requests were made to:

  1. Determine whether Mining Waste has affected our community
  2. Determine if those toxins could be getting into our body
  3. Determine if they could affect our health
  4. Direct ADEQ Arizona Department of Environmental Quality on appropriate testing so ATSDR and DHS can write a report and recommend actions to protect health
  5. Review safety of using Copper Mining Waste as an upcycled material which could potentially spread toxins and cause illness.

Testing has begun; however, there are many ways to improve the health and wellbeing of our community while waiting for the environmental test results. I hope this will be the first of many lectures to help our community.


Yavapai County Supervisor, Dr. Donna Michaels
Review the History of Jerome & Clarkdale mining and efforts on current remediation.Clarkdale – A review of the current situation of slag pile by the Verde river.History of Clemenceau, United Verde Extension location now in Cottonwood, possible area of high contamination that will be tested by ADEQ.

Current situation with re-mining the slag pile in Cottonwood and efforts on testing.

1:00 – 1:45 Mining activities in our community (Jerome, Clarkdale, & Cottonwood), past and present. Where we stand with testing & remediation Dr. Donna Michaels

Donna G. Michaels, Ph.D. is a community engaged leader who has served in government, education, community and cultural initiatives, private industry, development and non-profits nationally and internationally. She is a published author on social policy, public administration and capital funds development. She has expertise in public policy, land use planning and government regulation.

Dr. Michaels has lived in the Verde Valley for almost three decades and cherishes the rural, small-town character and iconic views that are unique to this area. Her commitment to Yavapai County residents is based in three promises:

Protect our rural, small town, communities’ character and/or Community Plans and Vision statements; Preserve our rural lifestyle wherever possible and practicable, our land use and water resources; and Promote businesses that support our communities’ plans and vision for robust, smart technologies and sustainable economies.

Dr. Raina Maier, Professor of Environmental Science, University of Arizona
Dr. Mónica Ramírez-Andreotta, Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Public Health, University of ArizonaBrief overview of past/current environmental health research with mining communities and introduction to community
science and upcoming soil screening efforts.For more information, please visit:

2:00 – 3:00 University of Arizona, Department of Environmental Science will provide a brief overview of past/current environmental health research with mining communities and introduction to community science and upcoming soil screening efforts.

Dr. Maier’s research focuses on understanding how we can exploit microbes and their activities and products to benefit human health and the environment. She is a Professor of Environmental Microbiology in the Department of Environmental Science and is known for her contributions to the field of microbially-produced surfactants – these amazing molecules have been the basis for several research discoveries and patents in the field of environmental cleanup and metal recovery especially related to mining. She is also known for her work on the relationships between microbial diversity and ecosystem function in arid and semi-arid environments with a focus on mine tailings and desert soils. She serves as the Director of the University of Arizona NIEHS Superfund Research Center and co-founded the Center for Environmentally Sustainable Mining both of which are focused on understanding the health impacts and advancing innovative solutions for remediation of mine waste sites. Related to mining, her group’s innovative work on establishing vegetative caps on mine waste is changing the way we think about and evaluate the revegetation process.

Mónica Ramírez-Andreotta, M.P.A., Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Public Health at the University of Arizona. Additionally, she is the PI of the University of Arizona NIEHS Superfund Research Center’s Research Translation Core. Using an environmental justice (EJ) framework and participatory research methods, she investigates exposure pathways and communication strategies to translate environmental health research to action and strive for structural change. She is pioneering new methods (continued) in exposure science, identifying community-level resiliencies to combat environmental health vulnerabilities and developing novel communication strategies. To engage, build efficacy, and address structural challenges in underrepresented, underserved, and affected populations,
she develops and implements programs with, and for EJ and climate justice communities in the areas of pollution prevention, climate change, and environmental sustainability, resiliency, and monitoring.

Ginny De LaCruz – Childhood Lead Prevention Program Manager AZ Dept Health Services (Phoenix).– Ways to protect oneself from potential exposure to Lead. Focus on dust and incidental ingestion

  • Lead Prevention – Living in a mining community
  • Screening Recommendations for Lead
  • Understand sources, routes and health effects of lead exposure
  • Tips on protecting yourself and your family from potential exposure to lead and Dust
  • A review of ADHS Resources

3:15– 3: 45 ADHS – Ways to protect oneself from potential exposure to contaminants. Focus on dust and incidental ingestion Ginny De La Cruz

With almost eight years of experience in public health work at the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS), Mrs. De La Cruz currently serves as the program manager of the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program. Her Journey began as a communicable disease investigator. After that, she took the role of Program Coordinator for the Skin Cancer Prevention Program, before finally joining the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention team in 2020. With her passion for health education, Mrs. De La Cruz strives tirelessly to ensure that every family affected by lead Poisoning in the state is provided with the necessary help and resources.

3: 45 – 4: 00 Question & Answers Panel of speakers

Live Event – is located in the old Clemenceau School House. If you’ve never toured the museum we highly recommend coming early to review the rich history of our amazing town. It will take about 1 hour. Healthy snacks and drinks will be available as a lunch option.