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Federal Officials Hear Radiation Stories from Retired Bethlehem Workers

By Mark Scott

Hamburg, NY – Representatives of the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health met with retired Bethlehem Steel workers yesterday about their exposure to radiation more than 50 years ago.

The workers rolled uranium rods for nuclear plants during the late 1940s and early 1950s. Today, many of them are suffering from health problems.

The federal government will compensate workers up to $150,000, but many claims have been denied. The Institute's Dave Allen said they came to learn more about radiation exposure at Bethlehem's former Lackawanna plant.

"Once we get this new estimate finalized, we will go back and evaluate all the previous claims," Allen said.

There are 575 claims from retired Bethlehem Steel workers, and about 100 more that need to be looked at.

The area's congressional delegation are pushing for a special designation for the workers that would allow their claims to be decided as a group.