Information contributed by: Frank Bushey
Extracts from The New York Times
President Clinton is scheduled to announce a wide range of cancers among nuclear weapons production workers, which workers claim resulted from radiation exposure. The findings have been prepared by DOE officials, the White House and numerous government agencies.
The newly drafted report, resulting from a Presidential request, notes increased cancer rates in 22 categories of diseases above expected frequencies in nuclear plant workers. Among these are: Hodgkin's Lymphoma, leukemia, cancers of the lung, bladder, liver, prostrate, kidney, salivary gland, vision problems and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Mr. Alvarez, an expert on nuclear weapons manufacture and former Energy Department official, notes that the increased incidence revealed in the study may rise, if as some epidemiologists believe, radiation damages the immune system and leaves individuals vulnerable to a wide variety of diseases beyond cancers. Mr. Alvarez welcomed the government's conclusion that many of it's critics had been correct.
"The new conclusion comes from the government's most comprehensive review of studies of worker health and raw data." (New York Times)
The findings go beyond the beryllium caused illnesses acknowledged by the government in July 1999. Following this report, President Clinton asked for a study on plant worker health which would include the effects of radiation, uranium, plutonium and other substances.
(DOE) Energy Secretary Bill Richardson said, "This is the first time that the government is acknowledging that people got cancer from radiation exposure in the plants...In the past, the role of government was to take a hike, and I think this was wrong."
"In the 57 years since the Manhattan Project began proccessing radioactive material to produce bombs, the government has until now minimized the hazards of radiation and chemicals, criticized epidemiological research that raised questions related to them and spent tens of millions of dollars in defending itself against lawsuits charging the bomb plants had made workers sick." (New York Times)
Information of elevated cancer rates came from plant worker records, Oak Ridge, Savannah River and Hanford, Rocky Flats, Fernald Field Material Center, Tennessee' K-2, and the Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos Laboratories.
"Some of the studies are drawn from epidemiological studies performed from the mid-1960's onward, a number of them disavowed by the government when they were published. Others are from data gathered by the Energy Department, which now owns the plants, by the Atomic Energy Commission, or their contractors. None of the research was done specifically for this study.
"The prior story line is, 'what's the big deal, the risks are minimal', said Mr. Guttman, former executive director of a commission formed by the Clinton Administration to look into improper radiation experiments using human subjects." New York Times
Efforts to develop a policy for compensation has not been completed. Any proposal for plant worker compensation would need to consider whether or not to compensate survivors.
The reasons so often noted as grounds for denial of worker's compensation claims echo those heard for decades by the Atomic Veterans: Failure to prove a causative link to the workplace (or participation) and that studies show only minimal, insignificant or no increased incidence of exposure related diseases.
Beyond revealing the radiation related diseases and a history of cover-ups and denials, this study shows what Presidential intervention and action can accomplish, if there is a will. The request originated in July 1999 and took only 8-9 months til this announcement. It was through this same process that the magnitude of human experimentation was revealed. The period from inception til release of the HREX reports took less than 18 months.
This same Presidential intervention is now appropriate and necessary for an honest, unbiased, independent study of the effects of radiation exposure to Atomic Veterans. A reasonably expected outcome should not to be much different given the same history and epidemiological research. If it is determined that "missing or inaccurate exposure data and participant numbers disallow the application of standard study methodology" then don't do anymore studies. The veterans "have been studied to death". A comphrensive review of the long standing secreted, biased, and erroneous data, on which Atomic Veteran claim denials are determined, is certainly in order.
Or even better, accept this committee results as proof of what Atomic Veterans have been saying for decades. This study reveals the same techniques used to deny the claims of Atomic Veteran's, and demonstrates the same radiation diseases which have led to illnesses and fatalities for Atomic Veterans.
You will find a link for E-mail to your local Congressional Representatives at the very bottom of the HOME page in the Relevant Links section. Only your input can make this happen. No one cares -- more than YOU !!!!!
Related comments are made by Michael E. Dobmeier,
DAV National Commander
to the Committee of Veteran' Affairs, U.S. Senate/U.S. House of Representative.