Occupational Hazards: Health Risks of Jobs in Nuclear Facilities

Chemist in protective suit disposing radio active nuclear wasteTerry Wattenburger used to be a healthy man. He weighed 220 pounds and towered at 6 feet 2 inches. After contracting an unusual cocktail of illnesses including stomach cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), peripheral neuropathy, myasthenia gravis, and pneumonia, he has lost much of his footballer’s bulk and in turn gained holes and stitches on his body from several medical procedures. Terry attributes his health’s drastic decline to his short professional stint in the government’s nuclear facility in Hanford.

Health Risks of Nuclear Facilities

If you or a loved one works in the nuclear industry, Terry’s story should be enough of a cautionary tale. Although a definitive research has yet to show a direct correlation between working in nuclear facilities and the onset of illnesses such as in Terry’s case, the fact that these stories exist cannot be denied.

The closest we’ve gotten to this correlation is a study that revealed a possible connection between heart disease and exposure to high radiation.

The Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program (EEOICPA)

The Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program (EEOICPA) is a joint initiative of the Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Labor (DOL), Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Its primary function is to provide assistance to the likes of Terry Wattenburger, workers who once served at a DOE facility and have since contacted severe health conditions.

If you or a loved one wish to file a claim for the EEOICPA health care benefit, you may call this number (866) 888-3322 toll-free, or you may visit this web page.

EEOICPA Health Care Benefits

If your EEOICPA claim is approved, possible benefits include wage loss compensation, impairment compensation, and payment of all incurred medical expenses for illnesses covered by the program. These benefits are just a few of the means in which the government tries to provide recompense to workers who had diligently served its projects.