Uranium victim billed for lift chair, daughter says


Tammie Blackwater’s 81-year-old father worked in the uranium industry for about 20 years.

“Back then, they didn’t tell the Navajo uranium workers – miners, miller or transporters – that uranium was dangerous,” Blackwater said. “It could cause cancer or all these respiratory diseases. And they knew about it.”

Blackwater requested that her father’s name not be used to protect his privacy. He was a uranium miller and as a result has been diagnosed with four different lung diseases – pulmonary fibrosis, fibrosis of the lung, silicosis and pneumoconiosis.

“They didn’t give them protective wear or any of that,” Blackwater said.

His compromised health made him eligible for medical benefits under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act. The EEOICPA is specifically for uranium workers who worked for Department of Energy facilities and as a result contracted specific diseases caused by radiation exposure, according to United Energy Worker’s Healthcare’s website.

He worked primarily at a DOE facility in Moab, Utah. Under EEOICPA, he received medical benefits, which means he doesn’t have to pay for any medical care or supplies for the illnesses he got as a result of his work in the uranium industry.

The Department of Labor works with medical health care providers and supply stores to meet the needs of individuals covered under EEOICPA. Medical health care providers and supply stores file an application with DOL to become a DOL “provider.” These providers agree to accept DOL’s medical fee schedules, which basically are capped fees for any health care or medical supplies.

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Categories: News
Tags: uranium

About Author

Pauly Denetclaw

Pauly Denetclaw is Meadow People born for Towering House People. She was raised in Manuelito and Naschitti, New Mexico. She was the co-recipient of the Native American Journalist Association's 2016 Richard LaCourse Award for Investigative Reporting. Denetclaw is currently finishing her degree in multimedia journalism from the University of New Mexico - Main. Denetclaw covers a range of topics including genetic research, education, health, social justice issues and small businesses. She loves coffee, writing and being with her family. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram. Her handle is @pdineclah