Re: Irradiated – The Hidden Legacy of 70 Years of Atomic Weaponry

Dear Editor:

The above-referenced investigative report provided indepth insight into EEOICPA, a nuclear worker compensation program that is both profoundly important, and in need of attention to ensure its ability to function as intended. The Presidential Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker Health (ABRWH) should be embarrassed by the statements made by Board Member Wanda Munn in Chapter One of the article.

ABRWH’s responsibilities require impartiality and objectivity among its members, which rely on the ability to set aside personal bias. However, Ms. Munn stated that EEOICPA is a drain on taxpayers, should have a built-in “sunset clause,” and is “unfair to the people who have been misled in terms of their health.” Misled?

If workers have been misled, it hasn’t been by the world’s leading epidmiological researchers that linked radiation and toxic chemical exposure to cancer and other illnesses decades ago. Nor have the workers been misled by Congress, when it was acknowledged that the government and its contractors conspired to put workers in harm’s way and hide the evidence. If workers have been misled, it was by those who confiscated their dosimeter badges; hid or destroyed records of their exposures; and knowingly cut corners at the expense of worker health and safety. Even today, the government and their contractors are caught violating safety regulations, while contractors with established obligations under EEOICPA are actively manipulating worker records that are decades old, so that sick former employees cannot prove eligibility to EEOICPA.

I am confused by Ms. Munn’s thoughts on what she calls a, “forever program [in need of a] sunset clause,” which contradicts her acknowledgement of the nuclear industry’s perpetual need for employees, resulting in third-and-fourth-generation nuclear workers. Is Ms. Munn suggesting these employees are undeserving of adequate protection against exposure, comprehensive benefits programs, and recourse when occupational exposures result from negligence or exploitation by the government and its contractors?

Ms. Munn’s comments are an affront to workers across the nuclear complex; past, present and future. They reflect poorly on ABRWH by suggesting that the Board justifies personal bias rather than demanding due diligence with preferential focus on established science and site history. Such a position taken by any Board Member could raise significant questions about ABRWH’s credibility and motives, while compromising trust and confidence of claimants and their advocates in the Board’s recommendations. Given the Board’s need to rely on objectivity and established science to fulfill its responsibilities, I suggest that Ms. Munn’s resignation be considered.

Sincerely,

D’Lanie Blaze

CORE Advocacy for Nuclear & Aerospace Workers