Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Woman Fights to Gain Compensation for Cold War Victims

Denise Brock's father worked at the Mallinckrodt Chemical Co. plant in St. Louis from 1945 to 1960. The plant produced uranium dioxide for the Manhattan Project, exposing its workers to large doses of radiation. Brock's father died of lung cancer in 1978.

A law passed by Congress three years ago, the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act of 2000 (EEOICPA) was supposed to compensate these hidden victims of the Cold War. But for many, the law requires identification of the names and doses of the chemicals that these workers were exposed to, a task that is difficult to impossible for many.

Luckily for the victims who are still alive, and their families, Denise Brock is fighting to get them compensated.
At Brock's urging, a federal advisory board that oversees the compensation program had a public hearing where a report on Mallinckrodt was unveiled by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. It found workers were exposed to radiation up to 2,400 times greater than doses acceptable by modern standards. It referred to conditions at Mallinckrodt's uranium-processing plant as routinely dusty and hazardous.

In some cases, evidence of radiation exposure at Mallinckrodt was so overwhelming that the institute could bypass an individual determination of workplace exposure.

But for other Mallinckrodt workers, not all the proof is available, the report said. From 1942 to 1948, no one monitored workers' health.
Read more here.