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Pittsburgh’s WWII atomic plant workers can get compensation

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The federal government is addressing a 65-year-old legacy of health problems related to atomic exposure.

The U.S. Department of Labor has set up a special fund to compensate employees who worked at the Westinghouse Atomic Power Development Plant in East Pittsburgh from August 1942 to December 1944. They and their relatives are eligible for payments under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act.

Workers at the plant may have been exposed to damaging radiation in the race to build the first atomic bomb. As World War II raged, scientists were woefully ignorant of the health problems posed by radioactive substances. Wartime urgency led some safety corners to be cut.

To be eligible, an employee must have worked at the plant for at least 250 hours during the covered period. Information on obtaining benefits is available online at www.dol.gov or by calling the department’s information line at (800) 941-3943.

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