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Designation could lead to compensation for Hooker Chemical workers

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Chris Caya/WBFO News
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Area residents who helped build the atomic weapons of the Cold War may now qualify for compensation. Rep. Brian Higgins says says workers at Hooker Chemical and other local factories were exposed to radiation without adequate monitoring or protection.Higgins says a recent decision by the U.S. Department of Labor is a "great win" for workers at Hooker Chemical in Niagara Falls. He says many workers suffered from radiation exposure and the new designation will allow for the approval of many more claims.

The South Buffalo Democrat says the special exposure cohort designation is extended to Hooker employees who worked a minimum of 250 days between July 1, 1944 and December 31, 1948 and were diagnosed with one of 22 specific cancers.

"In their service to this nation, Hooker Chemical workers have paid a significant price, costing lives and resulting in suffering for employees and their families," Higgins said Wednesday.

Higgins says since Bethlehem Steel workers were reclassified, they've been awarded $234 million. The U.S. Department of Labor will host a resource session for the former workers December 2 in Niagara Falls.