Aid for ill workers
Wednesday, October 25, 2000

I have just read your editorial from Tuesday, and would like to express my gratitude. As a victim of this "orphan disease," I appreciate any efforts to educate the public of its seriousness. I am a machinist at the Oak Ridge, Tenn., nuclear weapons plant, where I have worked since 1968. I was diagnosed with Chronic Beryllium Disease after several years' misdiagnosis of adult asthma. Since being diagnosed, I have worked with local and national support groups, activist organizations, unions, Department of Energy supporters, and, more recently, legislators, on the issues of education and compensation for beryllium disease victims. I have attended a number of DOE-sponsored health awareness meetings, including the DOE Beryllium Conference in D.C. last week and another at Argonne Lab two summers ago. You are correct that the "too little, too late" adage applies here, and the Senate version of the compensation, itself falling short, was far better than the compromise now being considered. I urge anyone interested to educate themselves. Please contact your legislators to improve this bill before it becomes law, to truly serve justice to the Cold War veterans suffering from Beryllium disease, and other toxic illnesses contracted in service to their country.

Glenn Bell
Beryllium Victims Alliance
Oak Ridge, Tenn.

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