USW Condemns Denial Of Compensation For Nuclear Workers

Incomplete, inaccurate and missing exposure records make it difficult to prove cancers resulted from the Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons plant; one in ten of those approved dies before seeing any money.

LAKEWOOD, Colo. - The United Steelworkers (USW) has condemned the decision by the federally-appointed Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker Health to not recommend “special exposure cohort” (SEC) status to workers who were employed at the Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons plant from Jan. 1, 1967 to 2005.
The board voted 6-4 in favor of a motion to accept the evaluation and conclusion by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) that there is enough data to reconstruct workers’ radiation doses for the 1967 to 2005 time frame.
According to the USW, thousands of former Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant workers have been denied compensation and medical care for their cancers because incomplete, inaccurate and missing records of their exposure have made it almost impossible to prove their cancers resulted from their work at the plant.
The USW said that when these workers are finally approved for compensation, one in ten of them dies before getting paid.
“It is an outrage that six of the advisory board members decided to believe the faulty, insufficient and incomplete data NIOSH uncovered over workers’ experiences of what actually happened at that plant,” said USW District 12 Director Terry Bonds. “These workers told the truth behind those faulty numbers and they were ignored.
“The science behind these dose reconstructions is imprecise. How many more workers have to die before NIOSH is 100 percent certain their cancers and illnesses were caused by their on-the-job exposure to radiation and toxic chemicals?” Bonds asked.
The board’s recommendation to believe NIOSH over the workers goes to the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services director for final approval.
USW President Leo W. Gerard said: “We are committed to help our former USW-represented workers at Rocky Flats with the appeal process, but it will take leadership from members of Congress to resolve this lack of compensation and medical care for sick nuclear workers.

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