This Week’s SPECIAL Featured Interviews:
Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) was enacted by Congress in 1990 to provide one-time benefits to persons who have likely developed cancer or other specified diseases after exposure to uranium mining, milling or transport, and from radioactive fallout from atomic weapons testing in certain areas of Utah, Nevada and Arizona. But uranium workers after 1971 are not currently eligible for compensation, despite most of the uranium mining production happening after 1971.
An extension of RECA to increase compensation and extend the people to whom it applies is currently being considered, but it has to pass within one year or RECA will completely go away. To understand these issues, I spoke with three activists working on getting the RECA extension passed:
- Mary Dickson is a Salt Lake City journalist and writer whose award-winning play, Exposed, puts a human face on the cost of nuclear testing. She has been recognized by the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility for her lifetime work on behalf of downwinders and regularly speaks out against the resumption of nuclear testing as well as her downwinder information talks. We previously interviewed Mary for Nuclear Hotseat #494, on December 8, 2021. Here, she talks about RECA, what it is, why it’s needed, and what is going to be required to pass it before it expires in 2022. We spoke on Thursday, July 15, 2021.LINKS:
- Contact Mary Dickson: [email protected]
- The Downwinders of Utah Archives at the University of Utah Marriott Library – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-HzxDhcOA2M
- Downwinder Sherrie Hanna grew up in Arizona without understanding the consequences to her family and community from radioactive fallout from the 100 Nevada test site above-ground nuclear bomb tests. She is now a Downwinder Advocate, taking it as a personal mission to inform and educate as many people as possible. We spoke on Thursday, July 15, 2021.
Radiation Exposure Compensation Act – Downwinder Advocate Sherrie Hanna
- Linda Evers a former uranium miner and is President of the Post 71 Uranium Workers Committee. She worked in uranium mining and production from 1976 to 1982, including during both her pregnancies. As you will hear, her working conditions while a miner were often harrowing, and the resulting consequences for her health and the lives of her two children graphically represent just some of the dangers of radiation exposure. We often speak of the dangers of radiation exposure, but rarely are we allowed to understand the magnitude of that impact and what it means in human terms. Linda allows us a glimpse into that world – and just know, it’s strong stuff. We spoke on Friday, July 16, 2021.
- Petition to Extend Radiation Exposure Compensation Act
- Downwinders, Inc website: http://www.facesdownwind.org/dwindex.html
Radiation Exposure Compensation Act – Uranium miner Linda Evers
Numnutz of the Week (for Outstanding Nuclear Boneheadedness):
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Being held in 2021, but hey, branding…
Radiation exposure. It’s not just something that happens to people after a bomb goes off and there’s fallout. It’s an inescapable part of every step on the nuclear fuel chain, starting with uranium mining miners who worked in uranium mines up to 1971 had been somewhat covered for their resulting health problems by the government under the radiation exposure, compensation act or Rica. But uranium mining continued after 1971 until some of the mines shut down in 1987, others in 1990, and those workers have had no recourse to government compensation for their radiation related illnesses. So when you hear a former uranium mine or tell you,
There is no difference between the illnesses between the guys that worked before 71 and us guys that worked after 71 were sick with the same stuff and war, because we started at a younger age, we’re more affected. We get weird things along with the same regular diseases. We’d really like them to just do what’s right by the American people that gave their lives for this effort. Because even though the cold war was over, we were told every day we were still doing what we needed to do to keep our country safe from the bad guy. So call it cold war or don’t. We did our part. We shouldn’t be happened to fight these people, to get our compensation. We shouldn’t have to argue with them at all. They should do it because it’s the right thing to use
Government doing something because it’s the right thing to do. Well. If that’s what you’ve been counting on to compensate for illnesses, you developed as a result of radiation exposure from doing cold war work in U S uranium mines or being downwind of atmospheric, a bomb test by now, you know, without a doubt that you are stuck in that awful seat that we all share
Clear hot seat. What are those people thinking? Nuclear hot seat. What have those boys been breaking clear, hot seat? The Ms. Sinking our time to act is shrinking, but have the visceral linking nuclear Hotsy it’s the bomb.
Welcome to nuclear hot seat. The weekly international news magazine, keeping you up to date on all things nuclear from a different perspective. My name is Libby Halevi. I’m the producer and host as well as a survivor of the nuclear accident at three mile island from just one mile away. So I know what can happen when those nuclear so-called experts get it wrong. This week, a special report on the people most impacted by the radiation exposure, compensation act or Rica. It’s the government program intended to provide a one-time payment to uranium miners and unsuspecting civilian downwinders. But the areas covered were limited to certain counties and only three states and only uranium miners who worked before 1971 were eligible. Now there’s a proposed extension of Rica in Congress that would correct some of these omissions, but Congress has only one year to pass the bill or all of Rica’s benefits will go away.
Where does that bill stamp? Now we will talk with downwinders a uranium miner, all of whom are activists who have been campaigning for its passage. And you’ll hear some difficult truths about exactly what radiation exposure actually does to people’s bodies and their babies. We will also have numnuts of the week for outstanding nuclear bone headedness, and more honest nuclear information than we will ever get out of the international Olympic committee. All of that coming up in just a few moments today is Tuesday, July 20th, 21. And here is this week’s nuclear news from a different perspective, starting off with
Like the Tokyo Olympics with women’s softball games being played in Fukushima’s Azuma stadium, only 20 kilometers, 11.2 miles away from the still radioactive remains of the Fukushima Daiichi triple meltdown, to learn more about the elevated radiation risks that women face, as opposed to the male standards that are used. Check out last week’s nuclear hot seat, number 5 25, and you’ll understand exactly why evil numb nuts is posed by the Tokyo Olympics. And they are no
Now here’s this week special feature on the radiation compensation act or Rica we’re featuring three interviews with people directly involved in working to get the expanded Rica passed by Congress. They’ll provide you with both the political and the personal side of what Rica is supposed to do, what it hasn’t hasn’t done and why the time is short to get this extension passed. First, Mary Dixon. She is a salt lake city journalist and writer whose award-winning play exposed, puts a human face on the cost of nuclear testing. She has been recognized by the Alliance for nuclear responsibility for her lifetime of work on behalf of downwinders like herself and regularly speaks out against the resumption of nuclear testing as well as her down winter information talks. We previously interviewed Mary for nuclear hot seat, number 4 94 on December 8th, 2021. Here she talks specifically about Rica, what it is, why it’s needed and what is going to be required to pass it before it expires in 2022, we spoke on Thursday, July 15th, 2021, Mary Dixon. Thank you for joining us this week on nuclear hot seat.
It’s a pleasure to be here again.
We’re going to be talking about the radiation exposure compensation act or Rica, but first let’s get a little bit of background on you. And even though we had you featured on episode 4 94 of nuclear hot seat in December of 2020, remind us about your background, the source of your concerns on nuclear issues and specifically downwinders
All right. Sure. My story is a common one where I’m from. I’ve told it a lot of times, so we won’t be forgotten. I am a down winder from salt lake city, Utah. The neighborhood I grew up in, there were many people who had cancers and tumors. My sister and I counted 54 of them in a five block area. She died in 2001, have an autoimmune disease that she always thought was related to fallout. I had diarrhea cancer. I’d done this work for three decades. I’ve worked to advocate for and support downwinders and increase awareness. I have been working on expanding the radiation exposure compensation act for decades again, and I wrote a play called exposed that told my story. And it’s basically all true. It lays out not only what happened to me and my sister, but also the kind of background of nuclear testing and all the people who were affected in America by that
Tell us about Rica, what it is, what it is intended to do and how well it has fulfilled that mission.
The radiation exposure compensation act finally passed in 1990. This is years after people have been suffering living with the effects. It was very limited in scope, primarily that was for political reasons. They decided that 23 rural counties in Northern Arizona, Southern Utah and Southeastern Nevada could be compensated. If people could prove they lived in those areas during certain time periods and got one of 18 kinds of cancer, they were entitled to $50,000 in compensation. Basically the government decided that this would be presumptive. In other words, there’s no way you can prove definitively that’s where you got your cancer, but they knew enough and had enough background to say that your cancer likely was caused by fallout. And we will compensate you. So that’s the act. It never was broad enough. For instance, I grew up in salt lake city, which is Northern Utah. So Northern Utah was never covered.
Wyoming, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico were never covered. Even Trinity downwinders were not included under Rica. And obviously a lot of them have already died. In fact, we say that we are literally dying, waiting for justice. So it was a start. I applaud them for doing it and for making it presumptive, but it was never brought enough. It also the $50,000 as anyone who’s had cancer knows it doesn’t even cover a chemo treatments. There’ll be amount was very small. It was also non-inclusive enough. And I am really happy to see that Senator Crapo and Senator Lou Hahn are introducing a bill to amend that act. It would up the amount to 150,000. It would change the timeframe so that it begins September 24th, 1944, which would include Trinity downwinders. It also would add all of Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Montana. It’s a bill. We’ve waited a long time for we’re hopeful.
It also includes uranium. Mine workers you’ll hear more from them. They can give you more details on that. But as far as for downwinders, we are veterans of the cold war. We never enlisted no one level fold the flag over our graves. And those of us living downwind should be seen as Patriots. We sacrifice for our country not knowing we were so there’s no question. The government killed and sickened. So many Americans. So many of its own people. It’s definitely a bi-partisan issue. I’m happy to say that the amendments to Rica that are being introduced in the house and Senate are bi-partisan people from both parties are signing on. This is not a political issue. It’s a social justice issue. And to me, it’s a matter of morality and there’s a real urgency right now to expanding this and extending it because without action, the funds for Rica expire in July of 2022, they’re just gone. So one thing we do know is that people are still living with the effects. They’re still getting health problems. They’re still developing related illnesses. Their cancers are returning. And when you look at the genetic damage, we’ve got more generations being affected. So I think that a lot of people are still facing staggering medical bills. So this app will go along way to writing a huge, wrong.
What is the content of this extension of Rica and where are we in terms of the timing of the implementation?
Sure. Well, the bills are being introduced. There’s a draft bill. They have sent us, the language is not solidified. They’re trying to get an extended for another 19 years beyond when the bill was passed. So we still have to see it introduced and they are right now gathering sponsors for the bills that they’re hoping for. Bi-partisan, they’re looking toward the justice committee of the Senate because the justice department actually administers Rica. So they’re the ones who have the fund. So we are just hoping that this time it will finally pass that it will be introduced it. They will get widespread support and it will pass. Interestingly, there was a subcommittee in the house that had a hearing on this, and I was a little nervous about how they would respond to the bill. Every one of them said that they were supportive, extinct justice done, which to me was very helpful, very helpful. So I’m hoping that that happens again. I’m hoping that more sponsors sign on. I’m hoping that it sees the light of day that Rick is expanded, that it is extended.
What can listeners of nuclear hot seat to, to support you in having Rica extended for the additional 26?
You know what? It would be so wonderful if they would contact their senators and their house of representatives, offices, to say that this is an important issue, that it’s a matter of social justice that it’s doing the right thing and express the urgency of it because it’s, it’s never been more urgent given that it’s going to sunset. So I would hope they would do that if any of their senators are on the Senate judiciary committee, that is an extremely important committee to reach. So whatever they can do to help get that word out, we have congressional fact sheets. We’re happy to share. There’s a lot of material we can share. And again, there’s plenty of research to say, this is warranted. When that bill was passed in 1990, some of the studies were not even done yet. So that the huge national cancer Institute study that was in 1997, that was not factored into this bill. There’ve been studies since. So they show that it’s warranted. That it’s time. So if they would do that, that would be so wonderful.
Okay. Listeners, you’ve got your marching orders And Mary Dixon, thank you for the work that you’re doing by the way. How is your health now?
My health is good. I’m a lucky one. My health is good, which kind of makes me feel like I have more of a responsibility. I had one down winter friend she’s since passed, but she always said to me, you’ve got to keep doing this. The rest of us are too sick. Luckily my health is good.
I’m glad to hear that. May that continue. And Mary Dixon, I want to thank you for being my guest this week on nuclear hot seat.
Thank you. Thank you for having me. I appreciate what you
Do on winter activist, Mary Dixon. This second interview is with downwinders Sherry Hannah. She grew up in Arizona without understanding the consequences to her family and community from radioactive fallout from the 100 Nevada test site above ground nuclear bomb tests. She is now a down winder advocate and takes it as a personal mission to inform and educate as many people as possible. We spoke on Thursday, July 15th, 2021, Sherry Hannah, welcome to nuclear hot seat.
Thank you for having me
Sherry. You’re very involved with the entire Rica program. Give us some background on yourself first though. Where are you from? And growing up, what did you know about nuclear testing and possible radiation? Dangers?
I am a native Arizona. I was born in Winslow and I grew up in Flagstaff and Prescott. And when I was growing up as a kid, I heard bits and pieces about nuclear testing and what was going on in Nevada, but it wasn’t until later on in my life that I fully understood the ramifications and the outcome of what the nuclear testing that was done in Nevada was going to bring about,
You had very personal experiences with the impact of this radiation on members of your family. If you wouldn’t mind care that in
He simply live in the area or was he working in the nuclear industry?
No, he was a newspaper reporter and Winslow, Flagstaff and Prescott area. So he, he was in Northern Arizona, which is one of the affected areas from the fallout. And he was a down winder. But at that time, nobody knew anything about it, as much as they do now about the downwinders. And when he was diagnosed in 1982, he took chemo treatments for a year, but then he lost his battle with cancer. And then it wasn’t until 1990, when Rico was passed. And the information about Rica started filtering out to the public that we became aware of that and what the Rica bill covered. And we started doing our research and discovered that because my dad was in the affected area during the 1950s and that he tackled one of the cancers that is covered under the Rica program, that we were eligible to receive compensation.
Luckily, I, I am in good health. I haven’t had any serious illnesses or any cancer, but I do go for my cancer screenings every year that are supported by the Rica program they’re free. And the early detection is your best protection. So if they find anything through these cancer screenings, they notify me. And then it’s up to me to follow up with the doctor on that. But you always have that in the back of your head, you know, that you grew up in the effected areas. And so you are, you know, you could be contract one of the 19 cancers that are covered under the Rica program.
So that has been the fight that I’ve been working with congressional and senatorial representatives. And also I went around through Arizona and Nevada and Utah, and met before city councils, board of commissioners county supervisors and asked them to submit resolutions in support of bringing Clark county and Mojave county. That portion that was left out, bringing them into compensation. And there was a great support for that. And I submitted all those resolutions to Congressman Paul Gosar, who at the time was supporting a bill in support of bringing those areas that were left out into compensation. And he attached them to the original bill to show that not only Arizona and Nevada, but also Utah who’s been greatly affected by the downwinders was in support of that. And unfortunately that bill never passed. So I’m so glad to see now that we’re trying to, through other agencies, through other groups, we’re all coming together to try and help these areas that were never included for one in the original Rica bill and the areas that were left out of the Rica bill will be covered also. So that I’m so glad to be helped to be a part of that.
Give us a picture of what the services or benefits are of having Rica covered these areas, these geographic areas, you’ve mentioned compensation, and you’ve mentioned cancer screenings. Are there other benefits as well
That I know of that I’m aware of? I think the screenings are very important because you go to these north country, healthcare and Flagstaff, and they have satellite offices around Northern Arizona. So you can go to one that’s closer to where you live. And that helps because a lot of these people now that are showing up as downwinders, we’re older, we’re the baby boomers. And so, you know, we don’t like to travel long distances. These screenings are so important because they get you into the downwinders system and they provide a chest x-ray blood work, where they look specifically for cancer markers. And I’ve been told that when you have blood work done, if you’re not specifically looking for certain cancer markers, a lot of times they’re not detected. So they test for certain cancer markers, they do a stool sample, they get a history of you and you’re in the system.
So if you ever have to apply for compensation, then it already shows that you’re in the system as a down winder. And they also at the Flagstaff location, they have an individual there that helps people fill out their application because the application is 25 pages long. Wow. Very intimidating, especially for older people. And so once you have to start going through the application and see what is required, the information that you have to provide the department of justice, who makes the decision on whether you get compensation or not, there’s a lot of things you have to provide. And so what they do is they help you fill out the application. Now, what I mainly do in Yavapai county is I put people in touch of the resources that can help them get the information they need. And that’s a big help, because like I said, when you look at that application and everything that you’re having to supply to send in with your application, not only medical records, that proof that you were here during the time where those school records religious records or your parents, you know, if you were a child, obviously like I was, it’d be my parents’ information.
That is a profoundly simple and elegant way to find out if someone has lived in a location to look in phone books for what somebody’s address was. And that works, even if you’re going back decades. Now, looking at the work that you’re doing now is that specifically, and only for people in Arizona who might be downwinders or is it applicable to other states that would be covered by this extension of Rica?
You’re doing very important work. That is a direct and immediate importance to a large number of people. And we will post links that you had just mentioned. We will post the links on our website, nuclear hot seat.com under this episode for now Sherri hammer. I wish you every success with your work and if nuclear hot seat can be a service to you in the future, just let us know.
Thank you so much for all you do and helping us. Thank you.
That was downwind, your advocate, Sherri Hannah. We will have links up to all of the contact points for this week show on our website, nuclear hot seat.com under this episode, number 5 26. And we will be back with our third interview in just a moment. But first nuclear hot seat is now in its 11th year of weekly programs. And quite frankly, there’s no end in sight because it obviously fills a need to get our voice together and out to people who want to hear it after 10 years and more than 525 programs, nuclear hot seat has grown to become an important resource for people wanting to know the truth about the nuclear threat to our future and what we can all do to help fight against it. But as I’ve said before, the online world keeps evolving and Google is changing its algorithms to favor websites.
That load fastest. That means that if nuclear hot seat doesn’t do the necessary upgrading and reconfiguring of our website, even people who put in the proper search terms, you, we, and our important message will not be found. That’s why nuclear hot seat is embarking on a total website, rebuild, not a cosmetic, moving around with the pieces into a pretty new template. It’s a backend rebuild and upgrade to bring the website into alignment with how the internet works now, with all these episodes, it’s a massive job and the biggest expense undertaken in the history of the show in order to accomplish it now more than ever, we’re going to need your help. Here’s how right now go to the website, nuclear hot seat.com, click on the big red donate button and follow the prompts. That’s where you can donate any amount or set up a monthly donation of $5.
Now look at the same as a cup of coffee and a tip here in the U S so if you value nuclear hot seat and want to see us continue to be found online, now’s the time to support us with a donation, know that however much you can help. I am deeply grateful that you’re listening and that you care. Now here’s the third of this week. Special featured interviews on the radiation exposure, compensation act or Rica. Our third interview is with Linda Evers. She is a former uranium miner and president of the post 71 uranium workers’ committee. She worked in uranium mining and production from 1976 to 1982, including during both her pregnancies, as you will hear her working conditions while a minor were often harrowing and the resulting consequences for her health and the lives of her, two children graphically represent just some of the dangers of radiation exposure. We often speak about danger, but rarely are we allowed to understand the magnitude of that impact and what it means in human terms. Linda allowed us a glimpse into that. And just so you know, it’s strong stuff we spoke on Friday, July 16th, 2021.
Let’s start out with you and your personal story as regards uranium mining and what it did to you. Where are you from? And when did you first start to work in uranium?
Well, I was born and raised right here in grants, New Mexico. And as soon as I graduated high school in 1976, I graduated at the end of may. I went to work in the ma in the Kerr-McGee mail in July of 1976, because well, they were paying crazy money for kids right out of high school. It was a lot of money. What was the
First job that you had there?
I started on the labor gang, which was about, oh, I don’t know, 35 40 of us. We were in charge of all the crap jobs. We shoveled fours. We scraped junk out of acid tanks during shut down. We were just kind of the, do it all group until we had to spend 90 days on the labor gang or the bull gang, whichever they called it. And then we got placed. I went from 90 days on the labor gang to the crusher, but part of our jobs on the labor gang was to check the level of the tailings pond waters. And at the time in 76, the way we get that was we got a little dinghy real book that we wrote out to the center of the tailings pond and took a reading from a group that was out there in the middle of the pond.
And it happened every shift. So it happened three times a day. And one afternoon we were working swing shift and we went to go get the reading before it got too dark and the wind was blowing and it actually flipped our little dinghy over. And me and another employee got thrown into the tailings pond and had to swim back to the bank. And we got in the truck and drove back down and told the foreman what happened. And we didn’t even get to go take a shower. He was upset that we lost the boat and we went back to work. We didn’t shower. I mean, the best we did was wash our face and hands and went back to work. I didn’t shower until I got home. So there was instances like that that should have been dealt with a little better. I feel
And explain briefly what the contents of a tailing pond are and what the danger might be in being exposed to it and being dunked in it.
Well, it’s everything that they use chemically to leave the yellow cake out of the, or so I’m not sure what the list of chemicals is totally, but it’s got to be some pretty hard stuff because they leaked yellow cake out of dirt with it. And then, you know, it has a radioactive capacity as well because, well, it’s leaching yellow cake out of dirt, basically. I’m not sure what all is in there, but it’s acid is a part of it because they Kerr-McGee had their own acid plant on site. That was between the rod mill, where they added water and liquified the ore. And then it pumped to the male side where they put it in giant, giant, giant that says a chemical mixture to start the leaching process.
And just to be clear, when you say yellow cake, you’re referring to the uranium.
Yes. Yellow KC is a mineral that’s leached out of the order that the comes when it’s finished product is the consistency of flour and it’s yellow, Canary yellow, bright yellow. And that’s what they dropped into 55 gallon drums and sent to Oklahoma city for processing into further products like plutonium and such
And yellow cake is uranium. Yes. What kind of radiation protective gear did the company provide for you and the other workers while you were doing these jobs that exposed you to the yellow cake?
There wasn’t any radiation protection. What we were provided was occasionally the same masks that we’re wearing for COVID. We were supplied those a couple of months, even though they get clogged up in about an hour in the crusher, we were supplied hard hats, safety glasses, steel, toe boots. We were not supplied radiation, protective equipment. We were supplied with just regular protective equipment.
And was this lack of attention to radiation exposure, typical of the way Kerr-McGee the mine you were with at the time operated
All of them, everybody in this area operated that way, United nuclear Homestake Chevron. So HIO all of them because the government who is constantly responsible for our safety doesn’t hold their feet to the fire. They don’t make them protect the workers. The government has always been responsible for our safety, always no matter who was buying the yellow cake. Cause that’s one of their favorite things to say as well. We cut you off at 71 because United States, wasn’t the only buyer of the yellow cake. Well, I’m sorry. The government was still responsible for our safety, no matter who was buying it.
What were some of the other jobs you had that exposed you to radiation?
Well, it’s a part of the labor gang. I also worked in the yellow cake dryers, which were just humongous dryer drying machines that dried this yellow cake from a moist mud, like substance to a powder, fine that we could dump down to shoot and put in a 55 gallon drum. And when we worked in the yellow cake area, we were supplied a paper, white paper overalls, and a secondary mask. If we didn’t have a dirty one that we had had in our pocket for a month, but that was the end of that. I mean, gamma radiation componetry to foot three foot concrete, like nothing’s there, like nothing’s there. Well, the results speaks for itself. Our people are dying with weird cancers, the same and worse things that our predecessors that get compensation. And we’re dying at a much younger age because we started working at a younger age. So we were affected more.
Oh, you were on this job in 1978, you became pregnant. What was the response of management when you told them, what were you asking for and what was their response?
Well, at the time I was unaware of any kind of maternity leave. So I went to HR to see you what was going on with pregnant people. And at the time I was working in the crusher and their response to me telling them that I was pregnant was that I would say baby was safe, nothing wrong with working until my belly got so big. I couldn’t reach the belt to pick trash off the bill
When you gave birth. And what were some of the problems that you had with your first baby?
Well, he seemed like he was hungry all the time. So I had him to the baby doctor several times and they said, well, just feed him more feeding more. Well, then he just started puking everywhere. So he could eat until his stomach was full. And then he throw up, there was some muscles and intestines that were not lined up in his gut properly. He was born May 12th. And on the 4th of July, they had him doing surgery on him to straighten his guts out because he was literally starving to death. The muscles had cut off the tube that goes from the stomach to the intestine. And so he could eat until his stomach was full and get a little bit of nutrition, but then he throw it all up and he was starving to death. Basically,
I asked for the cause of this, you got two different sets of information from two different doctors who were they? And what was it that they said,
The doctor that was treating my son in an Albuquerque hospital said that, yes, this is a common birth defect, but the way his intestines were rolled up, he could not explain that. And when I asked him if it had anything could possibly have anything to do with radiation exposure, he’s like, oh, well that explains everything. Your son’s probably not a common birth defect. It was probably the exposure. When I told that to the doctor here in town that screens us at the time screen does for exposures and such. He basically called the doctor in Albuquerque or both face liar that radiation does not make people sick. And I’m sorry, the government’s been experimenting on people since the thirties and forties. They’re fully aware of how sick it makes people and how badly it damages children. And in general,
What motivation did that other doctor have for telling you that your baby was safe and putting down the doctor who told you there was a danger from radiation?
Well, the one doctor was employed by the companies that did our physicals and made sure we were healthy enough to go to work. And the doctor in Albuquerque had no little knowledge of radiation exposure in our lives. When he found out that we were being exposed, he himself, Lanny Harris was the doctor’s name. So somebody should be looking into the children that we were having back in the day. And that was 40 years ago. Of course he didn’t do it. No doctor in this town would do it. As far as I know, nobody looked into the baby’s stuff until here the last five years or so.
You also had a second baby. What was the impact on her?
She was born without hips. Totally. The leg bone was like the end of your finger. There was no protrusion off to the side with a ball joint for pelvis was flat. There was no cup to put a ball joint in. So from nine months old, until almost five years old, she had six surgeries to simply place the bones where they were supposed to be in her body. And her body started growing the right parts. But then after they started growing them, then they started growing like the ball joint wasn’t all the way in the socket. So it was B forming the ball joint. So she had to have more surgeries to cut the top of her CIBO and off and angle the ball joint into the socket. And they took a wedge of bone out of her pelvis and made a slit and then certed it lower. So the outside of the cup would come down a little bit more and pins and screws and plates to hold that all together. And they fixed one side and then they had to go in and do the other side. So she learned to walk about five times. And then by the time she was about six, she could was out of that zone. She had hips and were working. And then at 29, she had to have the right one replaced. And now she’s going to the doctor to have the left one, replaced it 39.
That is painful information to hear. We often hear that there are birth defects, there were problems. And I thank you for being as honest as you are about the extent of this, because it really paints the picture.
It needs to be heard because they were telling us that we and our babies were totally safe. There was nothing for us to fear, you know? So you’re making a lot of money. It’s real easy to hear stuff like that and go with it. And they could have been just as honest about the effects, because they’re still people that would come and got the money. I’m going to be sick in 40 years. Give me the money. Now
In 1993, when you were 35, you dislocated your thumb and went to see a specialist about it while he was reviewing your x-rays. What did he ask you?
Well, he asked me about my family, history of arthritis, which at the time we do have arthritis, but it’s not crippling at the time. My 93 year old grandmother still crocheted and knitted beanies for us at Christmas. So I had a little arthritis, but genetically we don’t have any bone or joint issues or anything like that. And he says, well, what about exposure to radiation? And I looked at him because I lived in Kansas at the time, the east side of Kansas. I said, well, yeah, I mean, I went to work in the uranium mill when I was 18, right out of high school and worked for 7, 8, 9 years. Something like that, why? And he says, well, it looks to me like we better x-ray everything because your joints are grinding away, like degenerative joint disease. So we started x-ray and things, and I have degenerative bones and degenerative joints and the thumbs in my right hand, they fused the end, knuckle replaced two joints and then went in my wrist and certainly the ligaments to tighten everything down on the joints. And about the time I got my right hand finished, my left hand did the same thing. So as to have that done was that two vertebrae in my back is doing it. My right knee is doing into the chiropractor for a week now trying to get my right shoulder to stay in place because well, it’s degenerate in two and it doesn’t want to stay in place.
And this degeneration can be caused by exposure to radiation.
It can. And because of my age, when I was diagnosed at 41, that’s absolutely what they contributed to because I wasn’t old enough. I had a little bit harder to write is coming on, but I was not eight up with arthritis. There’s no family history of any kind disease. These kinds of diseases are unknown in our family, both sides, my mother and father. So I mean, that’s what he directly correlated it to because of my age and my lack of other things that would have caused it.
So you began working in the uranium mining industry in 1976. Rica only extends to workers from 1971. And before that people who were working in the industry before that, what help, if any, has Rica been regarding the problems faced in your various illnesses?
If you worked after 1971, there is nothing in place for that. And in this little town where everybody knows about uranium, there’s a big sign in the emergency room that says, don’t come here asking for your uranium field tests. We don’t do that. So our people are being totally ignored. And the thing that strikes me as so ironic, or maybe that’s the wrong word, is it seven or eight years before 1971 is when the compensation stops with the peak of uranium. Mining was in 19 79, 20 9,872. People worked between Laguna and Gallup in 1979. So why did they cut off the compensation before the peak of uranium innovation was over?
Very good question. Now you are currently working on getting the Rica extension and expansion path. What is the work you are doing and what are you seeking to have included in the bill?
Well, we just like to see them extend the compensation to include everybody by rich. I mean, right up until they shut down in 1985, I mean, there’s already a program in place for the guys that cleaned it up. Everybody around us has had got a compensation program of some sort. They have simply excluded the post 71 workers. We have done everything that a political office has told us to do. We’ve done petition drives, let her drive. We’ve organized. We’ve grouped up with other grassroots groups that are trying to protect water and land and people we’ve traveled to Washington. We were lobbied, we’ve baked. We’ve borrowed. We’ve stolen to try to get these politicians to do the right thing by this one group of people. If you didn’t know better, you’d think we were Vietnam vets. They shun us. They treat us like crap. They won’t help us with our medical issues.
Everybody acts like we’re trying to get something we don’t deserve. We busted our butts for that uranium. We busted it every day. If you didn’t show up for your shift, if you didn’t make quota, you got fired. We busted our butts every day, no different than the dice. The forest and Dr. Esky sued over at UNM hospital has done research and shown that there is no difference between the illnesses between the guys that worked before 71 and us guys that worked after 71 were sick with the same stuff and war, because we started at a younger age. We’re more affected. We get weird things along with the same regular diseases. And the other thing we’re asking, well, we’d like to see the Rica program expand the compensated diseases right now. They only five lung diseases and three kidney diseases. Uranium destroys entire bodies, not just lungs and kidneys.
So we’d like to see an expansion on that. We’d really like them to just do what’s right by the American people that gave their lives for this effort. Because even though the cold war was over, we were told every day we were still doing what we needed to do to keep our country safe from the bad guys. So call it cold war or don’t. We did our part. We shouldn’t be having to fight these people to get our compensation. We feel them have to argue with them at all. They should do it because it’s the right thing to do.
Are you doing this work on your own? Are you with a group? Are you in a coalition?
When we started this back in 2007, a friend of mine and myself were working on it, winging it on her own. And then we met with Southwest research and information center, a gentlemen by the name of Chris shoe, either the advices we’d make more of a statement if we’d organize. So we organized, we generated a committee, the first committee meeting, we had 35 people show up and 10 years later it was me and my friend again. And that’s what we’ve been doing for the last seven years. It’s just me and Lizzie and mostly me. I do what I can that, you know, I have some health issues that have to be taken care of. So sometimes I have to take the time out and then sometimes you kick the wrong politician and their little staffers get all hurt and won’t let you talk to them anymore. So there’s that too.
If people wish to support you in this work, do you have a website? Is there an email? How can they get in contact with you
Now we’re doing everything through the Mesa Alliance. Well, it costs money to keep websites open and we run on donations and the donations dried up leave before the mission did. So we got Southwest uranium with Susan Gordon. She has some stuff online, my contact information there, her contact information there,
We will, of course, post your contact information up on the website with this episode, Linda Evers. First of all, I’m so sorry that you have been exposed in this way, had your health and the health of your children damaged by the legacy of uranium mining and that you are continuing to have to deal with these issues. Let alone push for potential compensation through this extension of Rica. And I want to thank you for all that you have done on behalf of yourself and the others who have been harmed by uranium in your area. And also thank you for being my guest this week on nuclear
Hot. Well, thank you so much for helping us with this. Sometimes it’s just what you’re doing that helps us more than anything. I appreciate the time you’ve given to us lady. Thank you very much.
Former uranium miner and president of the post 71 uranium workers committee, Linda Evers, we will have links up to contact information for Linda and all of today’s interviewees on our website, nuclear hot seat.com under this episode, number 5 26, to be clear, what is being asked for in this extension of the Rica bill is to extend Rica for an additional 23 years through 2045 increased compensation for all claimants to $150,000. Expand eligibility to all uranium workers who were active from 1972 to 1990. Expand the geographical eligibility for compensation, for exposure to atmospheric atomic testing, to cover all of New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, and Utah, and expand the geographical eligibility to cover persons present in Guam. During the atmospheric testing in the Pacific and making veterans who participated in the cleanup of the inner wood top eight hole eligible for compensation. Remember that while Rica is at risk of going away, the impacts from radiation exposure are not
Two places for you to become involved this week. Nuclear games is a new animated web documentary in Monga format. It’s designed to educate and engage and it’s going to be launched on July 23rd. We will have a link up to it on the website, nuclear hot seat.com under this episode, number 5 26. And that’s where you will also find the link to a petition to tell the white house and Congress don’t sacrifice our economy and environment to a nuclear bail out easy ways for any of you to become more involved and more informed. This has been nuclear hot seat for Tuesday, July 20th, 2021 material for this week’s show has been researched and compiled from nuclear-news.net to own renard.wordpress.com beyond nuclear international.com. The international campaign to abolish nuclear weapons, grand canyon trust.org, finance.yahoo.com. Main public.org fairwinds.org. My nietzsche.jp insider.com. reuters.com Marianne wild arc.wordpress.com and the captured and compromised by the industry.
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