NIOSH Considers Adding Chronic Lymphatic Leukemia to Compensable Atomic Weapons Worker Illnesses

by Tony Rutherford HuntingtonNews.Net Reporter
File Photo
File Photo

HUNTINGTON, WV (HNN) – Radiogenic Cancer is under consideration by NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health)  as an illness that killed workers at the Huntington Pilot Plant (a.k.a. Reduction Pilot Plant), which formerly was on the INCO property. Owned and leased to the Atomic Energy Commission, former workers at the plant already qualify for certain  nuclear /atomic worker compensation under the EEOICPA (Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act).

In a letter dated June 11, 2011, Gloria Clary of Milton, WV asked NIOSH in Cincinnati to add this type cancer to those that were contracted by workers at the demolished Huntington facility.

“My father lost his life at an early age working in the Pilot or Reduction Plant and its environment, and I strongly feel that CLL (Chronic Lymphatic Leukemia )  should be included as a radiogenic  cancer under the Energy Employees occupational illness program [established in October 2000].”

She adds that her dad could not have “contracted this disease in any other way than the work place, because the only thing he did , was work in the plant, go to church and garden.”  Her father was diagnosed with CLL in the early 1960s and died in October 1974.

File Photo
File Photo

Ms. Clary told the NIOSH Docket Office that at the time of her father’s employment HPP was “top secret” and produced “fine nickel carbonyl for a uranium enrichment plant near Piketon, Ohio.” He worked in a “highly secured unit” of the Huntington plant which required “that the federal government investigate and clear” him for work there.

Extremely pure Nickel Carbonyl , one of the substances made and/or recycled at HPP/RPP, causes  extreme headaches, dizziness, weakness, and an increase in white blood cells. “Many times my father would come home from work complaining of extreme headaches, dizziness and weakness.”

Huntington Pilot Plant (file photo)
Huntington Pilot Plant (file photo)

The classified Cold War facility operated from 1951-1962 and remained in a contaminated state on the grounds of INCO until it was demolished in 1978-1979. At that time the remains were buried in a classified location on the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant Grounds.

In addition to nickel carbonyl, HPP/RPP workers came into contact with various forms of uranium, plutonium, neptunium and other radionuclides which may be introduced to surface and ground water from natural and human sources.

Comments powered by Disqus