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Many sick former uranium workers still missing out on compensation

Uranium workers can face illnesses decades later. Many workers don’t know that help is available.Star Tribune, Heather Richards 307-266-0592, Heather.Richards@trib.com, Jan 14, 2019 

Four times a year, Angela Hays Carey visits Wyoming to find former uranium workers who could qualify for federal health benefits.

Every year, she finds some who didn’t know about federal compensation and health care support, or who never realized their illness was tied to exposure decades ago from their work in uranium mining, milling or transportation of ore……..

Hays Carey is the community outreach manager for Nuclear Care Partners, a group that assists former uranium and atomic workers with the red tape of federal benefits from the Energy Employee Occupational Illness Program Act and offers in-home care for former atomic workers who suffered serious illness from exposure.

Cold war mining

There are hundreds of Wyomingites who worked in uranium mining, milling and ore hauling prior to 1972, and as such, may qualify for one of the branches of coverage offered by the federal government. The benefits are tied to federal employment, but not directly. Most miners and atomic workers pre-1972 were essentially subcontractors for the federal government, she said.

The federal government has a number of compensation programs for former workers whose sickness today is tied to the Cold War arms race and the atomic bomb studies that fueled the uranium and atomic industries. A number of initiatives have attempted to secure compensation for uranium miners, millers and ore haulers following the 1972 cutoff.

There are nearly 30,000 former workers receiving benefits nationally, and more than 300 Wyomingites who have filed claims, Hays Carey said.

But every year there are more workers that Hays Carey runs into in Wyoming. She is based in Idaho, but travels to Wyoming for programs such as Wednesday’s luncheon in Casper.

Many of the workers she meets are aware of the benefits but have been denied.

That’s usually what I deal with when I come,” she said. “They didn’t file correctly; they didn’t turn in the right information. I love to look at those because it is easy to get the right information.”

Lying in wait

The health concerns tied to exposure to radiation and other toxins can be severe, but they can also lie dormant. People get older, they have health issues and they don’t always realize that the root cause could be from their past jobs, Hays Carey said.

Someone will come down with pneumonia and their lungs can’t properly fight it. That’s when the doctor may notice a more serious underlying issue……

Chronic lung issues, cancer and fibrosis are among the most common illness tied to historic uranium mining, inhaling uranium decay products or repeated exposure to gamma radiation.

There are a handful of states where the mining, milling and ore hauling workers mostly resided. Wyoming is one of those states, along with Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. To a lesser extent, mining was also happening in North Dakota and Idaho……..https://trib.com/business/energy/uranium-workers-can-face-illnesses-decades-later-many-workers-don/article_9765ea6c-cb6f-5209-8527-20e6863f1aa6.html

 

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January 15, 2019 - Posted by | health, Uranium, USA

2 Comments »

  1. Sorry we couldn’t make the luncheon here in Casper,we have an id number 944-44-3721 but do not know what this policy covers for sure.Would like a policy stating what the benefits are. Is there a way we could get one or find it on the internet to copy? Thanks Rosie email please rosiecoleman_2006@hotmail.com

    Comment by marvin e coleman | January 18, 2019 | Reply


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