[ RadSafe ] Cameron's refutation of "Alara Does Work" - Pre employment physicals

Ruth Sponsler jk5554 at yahoo.com
Fri Jun 30 13:49:27 CDT 2006

Unfortunately, I have no information about the details
of the NSWS pre-employment physicals.  The comments by
Mr. Gunter and Mr. Muckerheide have shed a bit of
light on what folks know about the NSWS physicals.

I'll just make a couple of generalized comments.  Most
people have some sort of chronic disease history in
their family, whether this be heart disease, cancer,
diabetes, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary
disease, pneumonia, or other common ailments.

Just off-the-cuff, it might have been possible to
reject applicants who had relatively young brothers or
sisters (under age 50, perhaps) with cancer as 'high
risk,' but I think it would be very difficult to
reject anyone who had either parent or any sibling
with cancer or heart disease or other chronic
condition, because this would have rejected over 50%
of the job applicants. 

I am aware that certain employment agencies in the
general job market give rather extensive health
questionnaires to all applicants.  I have worked for a
temporary agency that gives such a questionnaire.  I
was allowed to work, but I have a 52-year old
acquaintance who was rejected by this agency for
general factory employment (no radiation involved)
because she had a heart attack at age 44 and also has
a 'slow' thyroid.  She listed several medications on
the form and the agency cited the several medications
as the reason for employment disqualification.  The
agency recommended that she seek disability status. 
She was rejected for _all_ general industrial work at
this temporary agency, not just one specific sort of
work.  The agency may have been concerned about side
effects of some medications that cause drowsiness,
which is a hazard in a factory.  She has been able to
locate work at a hospital and at another factory
employment agency that does less screening since she
wants to work rather than draw disability. 

Off-topic of the NSWS, it is highly likely that
workers in non-nuclear industries will have been
subjected to health history screening.  I do believe
that authors of epidemiological studies should seek
details of the employee hiring process. 
Unfortunately, Dr. Matanoski did not provide many of
these details.

~Ruth Sponsler

--- "Robert J. Gunter" <rjgunter at chpconsultants.com>

> Having been the recipient of many pre-employment
> physicals (civilian rad
> worker and the Navy version of the same), it has not
> been my experience that
> a doctor has any real say in what someone will be
> doing.  This is aside from
> the obvious case where a potential worker cannot
> function in a work
> environment or otherwise fails the physical.
> The most common failure I have seen is failure to
> qualify to wear a
> respirator.
> Robert J. Gunter, CHP
> CHP Consultants
> Oak Ridge, TN
> Ph:  (865) 387-0028
> Fax: (865) 483-7189
> rjgunter at chpconsultants.com
> Products and Services at:
> www.chpconsultants.com
> ------------------------------
> Message: 2
> Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2006 11:04:51 -0700 (PDT)
> From: howard long <hflong at pacbell.net>
> Subject: [ RadSafe ] Cameron's refutation of  "Alara
> Does Work" 
> To: Rainer.Facius at dlr.de, crispy_bird at yahoo.com,
> jjcohen at prodigy.net,
> 	mike.bohan at yale.edu, radsafe at radlab.nl
> Message-ID:
<20060628180451.69965.qmail at web81801.mail.mud.yahoo.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1
> Ranier, your careful review of the Boice commentary
> on Matanoski's
> presentation of the vast Nuclear Shipyard Study,
> confirms my belief that
> healthy worker effect cannot explain the 3 years of
> life apparently added by
> exposure of Gulf Coast workers to 0.5 rem extra.
>   The only credible (although minor) healthy worker
> selection I have seen
> proposed, was here on Radsafe. It was that a doctor
> giving employment exams
> might unconsciously have directed persons of less
> vigorous health away from
> imagined hazards of radiation exposure, to otherwise
> identical work. 
>   Howard Long
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