OPINIONS
Story last updated at 1:19 p.m. on Wednesday, October 25, 2000

Your Views


Concerned about effects from toxic releases

To The Oak Ridger:

In recent months there has been much controversy over the historical releases from the Oak Ridge Reservation. An expert (Dr. Hoffman) has put his reputation on the line to help bring these issues out in the open. I have read many damaging and interesting pieces lately concerning both the Reservation and Mr. Hoffman.

We all know that this is only the tip of the iceberg and that it will lead to exposure of many, many other toxins such as fluoride releases, uranium, heavy metals and the list goes on and on.

My concern is that some American citizens from all over the U.S. are very active and have real issues with these historical releases but that the few that are not united in the cause seem to only want to tear down what a few are trying to build on.

Mr. Hoffman seems to have damaged himself and company instead of building his business as it has been stated. At least he is considered an expert on the subject of radiation. There has to be some credibility there. At least he is trying to help. I respect that.

Where is the "united" at in the pledge of allegiance? Why can't people work together and combine their forces instead of back-bite and tear down walls?

The Scarboro Community Environmental Justice Council, SOCM and the others were only taking an in-depth look at just one of the many substances of concern.

Why must we fight amongst ourselves when we should be teaming up and uniting our forces to expose and let the people know what and why they are sick and dying?

All substances will be looked at in-depth but not today.

What these people need is objective journalism, not dominate journalism or do you just call yourself a "community" newspaper?

Correct the errors and expose all the concerns from the people of the community, not just a chosen few. Help these people find out what they really have been exposed to and how much. Or do you just call yourself American.

Steve Heiser
2135 Copeland Road
Powell 37849

Feels our recent poll was irresponsible

To The Oak Ridger:

I would like to comment on your Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2000, article "Yes to Compensation Plan."

I am a former K-25 worker and I am on permanent medical disability for heavy metal toxicity. Not only did I work at the K-25, Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant for many years, I also resided within five miles from this site.

Since being diagnosed with heavy metal toxicity in 1998, I have been involved with the Coalition for a Healthy Environment in the fight for adequate compensation for all the affected workers at these DOE nuclear sites.

I have made several trips to Washington, D.C., pertaining to this worker compensation plan and feel it is important that the public know that there is much work to be done to assure that this bill gives the adequate compensation needed by so many.

Under this current proposal, approximately 5 percent of the sick workers will be compensated. This would include only those with chronic beryllium disease or with specified radiation induced cancers.

All other workers whose illnesses were caused by exposure to toxic materials will be placed in the state's worker's compensation program. It is important to note here that the states were never set up to handle these chronic, progressive diseases which many of these workers suffer and some states have shown objection to becoming recipients of these victims.

If true justice is served, all individuals injured and made ill by the government's actions should be compensated equally.

While working at the K-25 plant as an administrative assistant, I was unknowingly exposed to many toxins to include aluminum, antimony, arsenic, barium, beryllium, cadmium, cobalt, lead, mercury, nickel, thallium, tin, titanium, tungsten, uranium and zirconium, not to mention the unknown toxins that were in the drinking water during my time of employment.

These toxins have affected my overall health for the past 20 years along with countless others from the Oak Ridge area. Many of us who have suffered these chronic, debilitating illnesses are on permanent disability which has resulted in severe financial loss of income and unnecessary stress for our family members.

I have spent the last two years of my life researching and documenting the health effects which I have suffered due to the toxic exposures that I unknowingly received at this nuclear site.

I am a current member of the Coalition for a Healthy Environment (CHE). We are dedicated to seeing that our government lives up to their promise of compensating the sick workers from these sites. However, unfortunately, as the bill stands now, only a handful of these workers will be eligible.

There has been a callous disregard for the workers who were unknowingly put in these harmful working conditions. Many of them won't be living to see the scope of this human tragedy which will impact their children and their children's children. The tragic results of these actions will not be fully realized for decades.

Without the full disclosure of what this worker's compensation program will cover, I feel it is totally irresponsible for The Oak Ridger to take a poll to assess whether your readers feel that the House and Senate plan will adequately compensate those diagnosed with illnesses resulting from their employment at federal nuclear facilities.

I hope that once a summary of what is going to be covered under this plan is disclosed, that you will initiate another poll at that time to see if your readers feel that adequate compensation is being given.

Janine L. Voner
Coalition for a Healthy Environment
1630 Leconte Drive
Maryville 37803


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