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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Washington bill would help certain sick Hanford workers

Associated Press

OLYMPIA – Washington state lawmakers are considering a measure to help former nuclear site workers with certain illnesses receive the needed care and compensation.

KING-TV reported that the bill introduced by Richland Republican Rep. Larry Haler would grant a presumption of occupational illness for certain conditions in people who worked at Hanford, where the federal government produced plutonium for nuclear weapons 45 years. Production stopped in 1989.

The presumptions are similar to those Washington granted to firefighters beginning in 1987. The illnesses covered by the Hanford bill include respiratory disease, heart problems experienced after an exposure to toxic chemicals, certain neurological diseases and certain cancers.

The U.S. Department of Energy, which owns Hanford, did not have a representative to testify at a Thursday hearing on the topic.

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