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Government denies claims of occupational disease for some workers

Workers employed in high-risks fields are often aware that their health and safety could be in jeopardy. Regardless, many workers find that in order to provide for their families, they must often work in environments that pose a danger of contracting an occupational disease. Whenever a Missouri worker feels that his or her employment caused a serious or life-threatening illness, he or she is entitled to seek benefits from the workers' compensation program.

One employer seems to have unusually high numbers of employees who have been sickened or even died. The government took steps in 2000 to purportedly ensure that employees of Los Alamos National Laboratory, the country's largest nuclear weapons factory, and other nuclear sites were guaranteed access to benefits from workers' compensation for work-related illnesses; however, many claims were denied. Whistleblowers have claimed that they faced termination or other reprisals for reporting radiation exposure problems. The widow of one worker reported numerous exposures to radiation during his approximately 18 years of employment.

During the 1990's, secrecy regarding the plant's operation and the safety risks to workers and the surrounding community began to dissolve. Numerous inspections determined wide-spread contamination was common. After years of reports of increased cancer rates and other problems at the facility, plant officials stated that they were in compliance with all new regulations.

However, the worker who recently died of brain cancer recounted the possible exposures he encountered during his time at the plant, especially in the aftermath of a large wildfire that burned a sensitive area of the facility. By his account, he had a history of being exposed to high radiation levels while performing his duties before being diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Missouri workers who believe that a serious occupational disease was the result of their employment may be best served by consulting with an experienced attorney who can provide assistance is filing a valid claim for benefits to which they are entitled.

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