Saturday, July 17, 2004

NIOSH: Hanford Employees Vaporized

According to The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), workers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation continue to pay the price for cleaning up after the mess made during the Cold War. The Hanford workers are empying underground tanks containing 53 million gallons of radioactive and dangerous chemical waste.

NIOSH has released a report

stating that there is "a potential for significant occupational exposures and health effects from vapors released from the hazardous waste-storage tanks," and that "vapor constituents may be present at sufficiently high concentrations to pose a health risk to workers."
The report also found that "that chemical monitoring was insufficient and conducted in arbitrary locations, and that samples were sometimes collected hours after a vapor exposure had occurred. "

You may recall that the Washington Post and Government Accountability Project investigation and a Department of Energy study found similar problems at Hanford.

The institute's report, released yesterday, was applauded by workers and watchdog groups who said it provides added vindication for their allegations that tank workers were being made sick.

"They found what we've been saying, that (the contractor) can do a much better job protecting us," said Steve Lewis, an electrician who has worked at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation for more than a decade and says he was injured by tank vapors.

I will post a link to the NIOSH report when I find it.

Update: And here it is.