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Presumptive comp bill introduced for nuclear site workers

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A bill that would cover cancer and other illnesses under presumption for workers at the decommissioned Hanford nuclear site in Hanford, Washington, made its way to the state’s House of Representatives on Thursday. 

The federally operated site, which has gone by several names since it opened in 1943, is known for having manufactured the plutonium used in one of the atomic bombs dropped in Japan in 1945. Today, as well as in House Bill 1723, it is known as “the Hanford site,” infamous for its toxic smells, according to media reports. 

The bill, introduced by state Rep. Larry Haler, R-Richland, a former 40-year employee at the site, would establish presumption under the state’s workers compensation laws for workers who suffer from specific cancers, including leukemia, lung cancer, bone cancer, kidney cancer, lymphoma and other cancers affecting more than a dozen body parts. The bill would also cover respiratory diseases, heart problems experienced within 72 hours of exposure to the on-site fumes, toxic substances, or chemicals, and neurological diseases, according to a draft of the proposal legislation.

The bill covers any worker or contractor who worked on site for more than one eight-hour shift    
Without a presumption law, workers who suffered from cancer and other illness have had to prove their illness arose out of employment.