Pin It
Favorite

Fallout Fracas 

by Brett Wilkonson & r & & r & & lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & A & lt;/span & lmost all of the 140 million Americans alive during the nuclear bomb tests of the 1950s were exposed, in some degree, to radioactive fallout. Thirty million have died or are expected to die of cancer. Yet only a tiny fraction of those cases -- no more than 16,000 -- can be attributed to nuclear fallout, say three researchers from the National Cancer Institute in a study published in January.


That estimate is low, say some fallout victims' advocates. They worry that the study lends support to a recommendation that would significantly decrease the number of downwinders covered by a federal compensation program.


The study follows a 2005 National Academy of Sciences report that recommended scrapping the geography-based standards of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA). That 1990 law provides payments to downwinders suffering from certain cancers who lived in parts of Nevada, Arizona and Utah during the tests. The Academy report said radioactive fallout was likely not a "substantial contributing cause of cancer," and it recommended compensation be based on medical evidence instead of location. Some cancer victims living in Eastern Washington, Idaho and Montana believe they were stricken by fallout from radioactive releases from the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state in that same era.


It's difficult to prove that fallout exposure caused a given case of cancer, downwinders say, and developing new compensation standards could take years.


"The government might as well say there is not going to be any more compensation," says Tona Henderson, an activist in Emmett, Idaho, who has lost 10 family members to cancers she believes were induced by fallout.


While Congress debates how to change RECA, Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, and Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., introduced legislation in December to extend compensation to their states, which have counties that were among the hardest hit by fallout. Downwinders suffering from cancer are running out of time, says Henderson: "They should include us in RECA now and study us later."





This article first appeared in & lt;a href="http://www.hcn.org" & High Country News & lt;/a & .
  • Pin It

Latest in Comment

  • Winter Scenes
  • Winter Scenes

    From behind our windows, we watch North Idaho's wildlife in its annual struggle with the cold
    • Jan 21, 2015
  • This Must Be The Place
  • This Must Be The Place

    Publisher's Note
    • Jan 21, 2015
  • Say 'No' to Fear
  • Say 'No' to Fear

    Why Spokane ought to embrace its roots as an immigrant-friendly place
    • Jan 21, 2015
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon
Spokane Artist Trading Card Meeting

Spokane Artist Trading Card Meeting @ Boots Bakery & Lounge

Thu., Jan. 29, 5:30-7 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by n/a

  • Iron Upgrade
  • Iron Upgrade

    The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.
    • May 12, 2010
  • Seeing Gay
  • Seeing Gay

    A festival showing GLBT from all angles
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • Get Out the Vote
  • Get Out the Vote

    With all the uncertainty in the world these days, hot wings and cold beer are two things we can get behind
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Say 'No' to Fear

    Why Spokane ought to embrace its roots as an immigrant-friendly place
    • Jan 21, 2015
  • Mothers and Leaders

    History often overlooks the women who powered the politics of the civil rights movement
    • Jan 7, 2015
  • More »

© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation