St. Louis victims of toxic waste get closer to compensation
An amendment to a defense spending bill, if signed into law, would entitle nuclear waste victims in St. Louis to compensation under the National Defense Authorization Act, report Hunter Bassler and Justina Coronel at KSDK.
In a nutshell:
St. Louis residents exposed to radioactive contamination from the Manhattan Project have moved closer to receiving compensation following the U.S. Senate's passage of an amendment backed by Sen. Josh Hawley. The amendment, part of the National Defense Authorization Act, aims to provide financial redress for those affected. The legislation would permit individuals present in contaminated areas for over two years after 1949, who developed specified diseases, to claim medical expenses or a one-time $50,000 payment. The bill's journey now involves a conference committee and potential approval by President Biden, offering hope for victims of decades-long neglect.
Co-founder of Just Moms STL, Dawn Chapman said, "This is truly a miracle. I do feel like we have an opportunity here to get this passed. If you’re a health care provider listening, we need your help."
The big picture:
Exposure to radioactive nuclear waste can have profound and lasting health effects on individuals. The ionizing radiation emitted by such waste can damage cells and DNA, potentially leading to an increased risk of cancer, genetic mutations and other serious illnesses. Prolonged or significant exposure may result in chronic health conditions, compromised immune systems and an elevated susceptibility to certain diseases. The health impacts vary depending on the level and duration of exposure, making proper containment and management of nuclear waste crucial to safeguarding public health.
Read the story at KSDK.
It's not just nuclear waste we need to worry about. For decades, EHN's Kristina Marusic reports, national environmental organizations have tried to close federal loopholes that exempt the oil and gas industry's radioactive waste from regulation. In 2021, Pennsylvania legislators considered a set of bills aimed at protecting residents from exposure to cancer-causing radioactive waste from the oil and gas industry.