Screening programs find health problems among former Hanford workers

A press conference to outline the results of medical screenings of former Hanford workers will be held at 11 a.m. PST on Tuesday, Nov. 2, in the Columbia Room of the Richland Red Lion (formerly the DoubleTree).

The conference is sponsored by the University of Washington, The Coalition to Protect Workers' Rights, and the Department of Energy.

The conference will include representatives of those groups, plus former workers who will be available for interviews. Media unable to attend the conference can obtain information about the results, after the briefing, by calling the number above.

The two projects involved have screened about 600 workers so far, with plans to screen an additional 20,000 for health problems related to their work at the Hanford nuclear site in southeastern Washington state. These evaluations are the most extensive of former Hanford workers to date.

Undiagnosed lung disease and hearing loss are the most common ailments noted thus far.

The conference comes at the beginning of the third annual "Health of the Hanford Site" conference sponsored by the University of Washington. The data on former workers will be presented in full along with other topics related to human and ecological health at Hanford. The conference gives scientists, contractors, workers, residents, tribal representatives and others an opportunity to exchange information and discuss past, present and future research regarding the site.

Members of the media are welcome to cover some or all of the conference, also held at the Red Lion. For more information, call the number above or visit the conference Web site at http://depts.washington.edu/cresp2/hos. Besides worker health, other topics at the conference will include contaminated high-level waste tanks, beryllium exposure and evaluation of human and ecological health risks.

Among the scheduled topics:

    - The two new studies that quantify the number of health problems that have affected

Contact: Walter Neary
University of Washington

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