November 24, 2008

Report: Feds ignoring Rocky Flats data

U.S. officials aren't acting on information to help Rocky Flats nuclear power plant employees exposed to radiation, a scientist said.

Margaret Ruttenber of the Colorado Department of Public Health told the Rocky Mountain News she's collected data that show which workers were monitored for a particularly dangerous type of radiation emitted by neutrons. She said a federal scientist has known about the data since June. The information in the report would qualify the workers for medical care and compensation if they developed certain cancers, the newspaper said Monday.

I am very concerned to hear that these federal agencies may have known about this information for several months, U.S. Rep. Mark Udall, D-Colo., told the newspaper. This information could be standing in the way of former Rocky Flats workers receiving the healthcare they deserve and need to stay alive.

Larry Elliot, head of the Office of Compensation Analysis and Support at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, said his agency is unaware of a discrepancy in records of radiation exposure. The newspaper said the state has been trying to give NIOSH the Ruttenber data for a year but the agency has not been willing to accept the state's conditions.