[ RadSafe ] Fw: [NucNews] Some Atomic Energy Workers Passed Effects of Radiation and Chemical Exposure to their Spouses and Children, Were the conditions that bad?
parthasarathy k s
ksparth at yahoo.co.uk
Sun Jun 9 20:57:43 CDT 2013
You may note the following news item and its ramifications.
These stories may not be supported by unassailable evidence.That the workers used to keep their food warm by keeping them over yellow cake is a myth. But people will believe stories of this type.There was probably a time when the clothes of workers handling uranium compounds were washed at home. That these exposures were unlikely to cause all types of cancers including ovarian cancer may be scientifically true. But perception matters.
In 1981, I was a research associate at the University of Virginia Medical Centre.I interacted closely with the radiation physics group. I have witnessed how the group provided competent radiation protection coverage during interstitial implantation of gold seeds and during radiotherapy using I-131. In all these instances, the physicians associated with the treatments spent time with the patients and relatives and explained the procedures, their benefits and possible risks.
On one occasion, a 60 year old patient remained unconscious slightly longer in the recovery room. It was not unusual.I overheard his daughter telling her mother that the patient is taking longer time as the treatment involved the use of intense radioactive gold seeds.I recall that the physician who treated the patient discussed that matter with the relatives and convinced them that the delay in gaining consciousness has nothing to do with radiation treatment.Such impressions will spread by word of mouth faster.
On many occasions, I have responded to the queries of anxious parents and others on effects, if any, of radiation on workers. The latest was a query from a civil engineering graduate who got a job in one of the units of the Department of Atomic Energy.Then there was a news flash on the local TV channel describing radiation caused "birth defects and genetic mutations" in the family of radiation workers.His parents pleaded with him not to accept the job.It took a lot of time to convince the parents.
When certain "scientists" who want to fish in muddied waters are around it will be impossible to correct the wrong impressions.Can some senior members of the group enlighten us on the conditions of labs in nuclear industries handling uranium in the 90s?
With warm regards
----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Ellen Thomas <et at prop1.org>
To: nucnews at yahoogroups.com
Sent: Sunday, 9 June 2013, 14:19
Subject: [NucNews] Some Atomic Energy Workers Passed Effects of Radiation and Chemical Exposure to their Spouses and Children
Some Atomic Energy Workers Passed Effects of
Radiation and Chemical Exposure to their Spouses and
ChildrenTuesday, June 4, 2013
by Tony E. Rutherford, News
Worker safety has been a sacred cow for those subjected to
potentially life threatening hazards at the place where they earn their
living. New technologies oftencreate high paying jobs but carry
unknown health risks, such as for those who manufactured components for
the nuclear industry.
“Big Jim” took a job working around radioactive elements in 1954 at the
Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant (PGDP) in Piketon, Ohio. Workers told
his daughter how they kept their lunches warm by laying them on uranium
yellow cakes and poked fun of individuals who put around their clothing
before painting.They wore radiation exposure badges, but by “doing his
job” Jim later developed four cancers.
“My dad talked about the A plant, but he never told us what it was”, Joni
Fearing (Big Jim’s daughter) said. “Mom washed his work clothes”.She
passed away from a rare form of cancer too.“When my mother was dying, she
still did not tell us what it was”.
The Cold War ended the arms race. Nuclear weapons were replaced with
atoms for peace at electrical power plants. However, the atomic legacy
appears passed to the21st Century.
Now, Fearing pleads, “We have to lift the (currently perceived) A plant
Cold War secrecy”. Her father worked in an accepted EEOICPA Special
Cohort section of the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant from 1954 to
1964, which qualified survivors for government benefits.
“Yet, during that time, workers didn’t have separate uniforms”, she
continued.“Mom used to wash Dad’s work clothes, unknowingly exposing
herself, and us, to whatever he brought home. She was pregnant with four
of us children during those years”.
Due to the Cold War necessities of the United States security, nuclear
workers would not speak about the radioactive exposures under which they
worked. “They gave their lives and their health in service to their
country”, she said.
“The shroud of secrecy was for the nation’s protection. I understand
that. But you have to lift that secrecy. So many people could be
suffering today and not know why”, Fearing said. “The silence has to be
lifted for the sake of the children.”
She has spoken to others who have endured deaths of family members
allegedly due to working in and around weapons grade radioactive
For instance, there's “Melissa”, whose father worked in the Palmer
nuclear reactor lab at Princeton University during the Manhattan project.
“He used to joke about everything being hot and brought home a
contaminated table”, Fearing said. Melissa’s mother died of cancer at age
57. Melissa is sick now and seeks answers too.
An advocate for nuclear workers stated she knows of (at least) two
others “who may have been affected by the workers' contamination at
And, one former worker recalled 1999 hearings in Piketon with Senators
Dewine and Voinovich in attendance, along with Congressman Ted
Strickland.A widow testified that her husband worked in the E area of the
705 and had warned, “Never let the kids touch my work shoes". As the
audience gasped, she testified that the shoes are still in the
Laying a portion of family history on the table, Fearing asks, “We know
my dad was part of the special cohort. We know my mom washed his
contaminated work clothes.We know my mom died of cancer. We know there is
illness in the children.How did that happen?”
“My hope would be that more families would know what they are dealing
with so they could seek proper medical care.It would help if the
government would own up to the fact that there are many family members of
these nuclear workers who are ill today that were exposed during the Cold
War. Otherwise, if survivors hear from doctors that their conditions are
genetic, that it runs in the family, they will never know if they are
sick because of this legacy from the A plant or if it is a genetic
cancer. They need that information to make informed medical care
On his death bed, Ms. Fearing’s father did not speak of specific
exposures. “He never told us. He died silent”, she said.
Similarly, Fearing revealed, “I don’t know if my mother would have had a
different outcome if we could have told her [Michigan] doctors about her
exposures”.Diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, one related to ovarian
cancer, her mom did not speak of her husband’s plant work.
“One of my mother’s doctors suggested that all five of us daughters might
want to consider having our ovaries removed”, Fearing revealed. “I was
horrified. The doctor made that suggestion because she didn’t know about
mom’s exposures, and assumed this was genetic. These are the kinds of
life-changing medical decisions people face due to continued
However, Ms. Fearing herself is ill. Prior to her returning to
Portsmouth, a New Jersey physician detected traces of uranium in her
hair. For now, Ms. Fearing only alludes to medical history
specifics due to privacy concerns.
NOT ALONE BUT HOW MANY
Under current Department of Labor standards, employees who contracted 22
specific cancers and worked at gaseous diffusion plants in Paducah,
Kentucky, Portsmouth, Ohio, or Oak Ridge, Tennessee before February 1,
Ironically, many portions of the veil are no longer classified.
Former workers and spouses have kept their mouths tightly shut, recalling
a do not tell signature under penalties of fines and criminal
When the “secrecy” was intact in 1994, a plant guard and safety
representative made a life or death decision. His co-worker had been
exposed to radiation at the plant. He lay dying at a nearby hospital.
Treatment depended at least on a partial disclosure of the radiation
types experienced in the X-326 building.
Chip Lawson listened to his supervisors, then, called the
THE SLOW COOKER ACCIDENT
Jeff Walburn suffered an injury in 1994 when uranium turned solid clogged
piping. Clinging to the walls of the pipe, this area became a “slow
cooker” which emitted high radiation energy neutrons. Management used a
secret mixture (without informing guards or employees) that contained
“highly corrosive and toxic chemicals” for converting the clogged solid
uranium to a gas.
Guard Walburn had this secret mixture touch his hands and face, which
turned red . He had difficulty breathing. The plant dispensary treated
him with ice and alcohol then ordered him back to work.
In a May 19, 2011 interview with WBNS-TV, Columbus, Ohio, Walburn stated:
“There were 26 chemicals shooting into a cylinder above our position. As
we were talking, the atmosphere changed. It was like we were being stung
all over. I was spitting out granulated pieces of lung. My hair came out.
I was burnt clear through.”
Walburn told HNN that the chemicals created hydrogen fluoride. “When
ingested it burnt you completely”, he said. Others included chlorine
trifluoride, hydrofluoric acid, sulfuric acid and other “secret
“Paul Walton and I had uptake. There were argon grammagraphs that went
off that day [in 1994] as well, denoting the presence of Gamma
Radiation”, Walburn said.
After he got off work, his wife took him to Southern Ohio Medical Center.
A doctor there called the “poison control center” and was told “admit the
man at once, as he was in great danger.”
Walburn is but one example of management allegedly covering up the
dangers to workers.
PIKETON AND PREGNANCY
Mike and Kathy Schuller had been interviewed by British TV in 1980.
They were told their jobs were “safe from radioactivity”. by then
operator Goodyear Atomic. Later, both became contaminated by radioactive
particles from the plant.
When Mrs. Schuller protested on her working conditions, her employer
said, you “either you do it, or you get sent home”. She told
the TV crew, “I kind of worry about what is going to happen to my unborn
child”. At the time of the interview she added, “I will feel better after
it gets here, and that it’s got everything --- all ten fingers and ten
Don’t dismiss these heart-breaking accounts as flukes. Soldiers in
Great Britain were exposed to nuclear testing too. They heard the
genetically-influenced runs in family scientific assertions for
pathological disease versus radiation exposure.
The British Nuclear Test Veterans Association (ENTVA)in 2007 commissioned
a Green Audit to find out about the health of their children and
Chris Busby, visiting professor at the Faculty of Life and Health
Sciences at the University of Ulster, gathered information on over 600
children and 749 grandchildren. The data would be compared to 718
children of non-atomic vets.
“The results were nothing short of terrifying”, wrote Steve Boggan in
“Radiation from the 1960s Nuclear Tests Is Still Hurting My Family”,
published April 27, 2009 by The Times/UK.
According to the study, 94.2 congenital defects per one thousand were
found in the vital organs of children from the atomic weapons exposed
British group, compared to 9.6% for the non-veterans group. The figure
was 61.4 compared to 7.4 per thousand among grandchildren.
The Green Audit calls it transgenerational induction of genomic
instability,a condition reported at Chernobyl-affected territories. Prof.
Busby explained the phenomenon as a “signal passed to offspring which
causes random genetic mutation.”
Many families currently residing in and around Portsmouth, Ohio, fear
whistle blowing will cost them a friend or a buddy their job. How many
children have relocated to areas outside of the Ohio River
community and suffer from rare illness? Could their origination lie in
the yellow cakes of the Cold War era? Let us know.
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