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

  • Access for Sale?
  • Access for Sale?

    Trail Mix: Clinton's shaky Foundation, Trump's questionable staffers
    • Aug 25, 2016
  • Growing Pains
  • Growing Pains

    When the only constant is change itself, we'd best saddle up and make the most of it
    • Aug 25, 2016
  • Why I'm With Her
  • Why I'm With Her

    Ignore the chants: Hillary Clinton has earned America's trust from her life of public service
    • Aug 25, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon
Bodies Human: Anatomy in Motion

Bodies Human: Anatomy in Motion @ Mobius Science Center

Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through Dec. 31

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

  • 'Unreasonable Threat to Life and Property'

    Spokane's rental housing has problems, but landlord and tenant groups are split on a solution
    • Aug 11, 2016
  • 'End of Story'

    Condon administration aims to close the controversial Frank Straub chapter — but last week's scathing report has irrevocably changed the narrative
    • Aug 4, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

Briefs


election 2016


green zone


marijuana


trail mix


Readers also liked…

  • A Persistent Life
  • A Persistent Life

    Scott Reed won more cases than he lost in life, and the beauty of the Coeur d'Alene area has been the beneficiary
    • May 27, 2015
  • The First Seahawk
  • The First Seahawk

    Publisher's Note
    • Jan 28, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation