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Move to help nuclear workers exposed to radiation

John  thought he was manufacturing laundry detergents during his 23 years at Blockson. He wore only a paper mask while handling tanks that, unknown to him, were filled with uranium and radium to be used in the production of nuclear weapons.

Workers exposed to radiation may soon benefit from fund, The Washington Post, By Gerry SmithSunday, August 8, 2010;  CHICAGO — Four years ago, then-U.S. Sen. Barack Obama called them “veterans of the Cold War” and pledged to help them receive compensation.But today, many former workers at Blockson Chemical in Joliet, Ill., and their survivors still have not been paid from a fund created in 2000 to make amends for exposing workers to high levels of radiation without telling them or providing adequate protection.

Among them is Phyllis Keca, 84, whose husband, John, thought he was manufacturing laundry detergents during his 23 years at Blockson. He wore only a paper mask while handling tanks that, unknown to him, were filled with uranium and radium to be used in the production of nuclear weapons.

He was “always sick,” his wife said, and would come home covered in dust that she now believes was toxic and contributed to his death in 1996 from colon cancer at age 80………..

By early September, federal officials are expected to decide on a special petition filed on behalf of former Blockson workers and their survivors, who not only struggled with radiation-induced cancer but also with a complex federal bureaucracy.

The petition would make it easier for Blockson employees to file claims by eliminating the requirement that they prove their illnesses were radiation-related………….

n 2000, Congress established a fund to give $150,000 plus medical benefits to workers who got certain cancers caused by handling radioactive materials. If the workers had died, the money would be paid to their survivors.

But the pace of payouts has been slow and the burden of proof has been high. Of 363 claims filed on behalf of Blockson workers or their relatives, 102 have been paid, according to Department of Labor statistics.

Under the petition filed on behalf of Blockson employees, former workers need a doctor’s report verifying they had one of several specific types of cancers — including colon cancer — but they do not need to prove that the illness was radiation-related. Workers exposed to radiation may soon benefit from fund

August 9, 2010 - Posted by | Legal, USA | , , , , , , ,

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