CT (computed tomography) scans, more commonly referred to as “CAT” scans, can provide for early detection of lung cancer and other ailments related to work exposure to radiation and toxic chemicals.
The medical-imaging scans, which give a three-dimensional image of the inside of a person’s body by a single axis rotating completely around the body, check for carcinogens from radiation, asbestos and beryllium.
The federally sponsored free program ran for six years at Piketon until funding ran out in 2006.
Congress has reinstated the program and expanded it to include not only Piketon but also former nuclear production plants at Mound in Miamisburg and Fernald near Cincinnati.
A few of the CAT scans were done on workers at the former Mound plant last week using a portable scanner.
The scanner will return there as well as to Piketon and Fernald.
“We have the statistics showing the rate of cancers, lung disease and other illnesses related to being around nuclear materials,” said Ron Bush, who runs the Building Trades National Medical Screening Program outreach office in Piketon for those who worked in construction of the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant there. “Our fellow workers were around extremely harmful materials — beryllium, asbestos, silica and radiation, which later caused health problems. Identifying and treating their problems is one of the best things our country can do to thank them for their service.”
A number of programs have been implemented by the government to help workers detect health problems associated with their U.S. Department of Energy-owned plant.
The Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act compensates workers whose health has been affected by their work on nuclear weapons sites.
The program offers a lump-sum payment of up to $150,000 and medical coverage if work-related illnesses are discovered. To get in this program, workers and former workers must first be medically screened.
G. SAM PIATT can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 236.