Representatives of the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA) were on hand April 5 to answer questions from former employees of Dow Chemical and General Steel Industries.
Both companies took part in the Atomic Energy Commission’s (AEC) quality control process, with workers at General Steel Industries x-raying uranium ingots and betatron slices, while Dow Chemical employees worked to supply magnesium-thorium plates and sheets to AEC, along with other metals and equipment.
As a result of using and working around hazardous chemicals and radiation, many Dow Chemical and General Steel Industries workers are among thousands nationwide who have fallen ill or even died from the exposure. According to EEOICP statistics, workers from these two companies have made 3,120 claims under the act, but only 877 have been approved.
The meeting with EEOICP representatives was scheduled to take place in Granite City.
According to the Department of Labor’s website, the EEOICPA was created in 2001, and “compensates current or former employees (or their survivors) of the Department of Energy (DOE), its predecessor agencies, and certain of its vendors, contractors and subcontractors, who were diagnosed with a radiogenic cancer, chronic beryllium disease, beryllium sensitivity, or chronic silicosis, as a result of exposure to radiation, beryllium, or silica while employed at covered facilities.”
So far, the EEOICPA has allowed for over $11 billion to be paid out to workers and survivors in monetary compensation and medical benefits, including over $51 million to Dow Chemical and General Steel Industries workers.