Sunday, September 19, 1999

Ross Twp. man urges judge to consider way test handled




BY BEN L. KAUFMAN
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Robert L. Ryan wondered whether his exposure to potentially deadly plutonium at Mound Laboratory in Miamisburg was linked to his wife's life-threatening blood disorder 16 years later.

        Because her doctor was unsure, the Ross Township resident wrote in a court document, “I submitted my wife's urine in place of mine to determine if her urine was contaminated.

        “About one month later, I received the results. My wife's urine matched my urine results exactly.”

        That was frightening. His wife hadn't worked at the government weapons plant near Dayton.

        Mr. Ryan's story was part of the package presented to U.S. District Judge Walter H. Rice by workers objecting to a proposed settlement in a class action that workers brought against former Mound managers.

        Mr. Ryan said he inhaled 150 percent of the allowed lifetime alpha radiation in a plutonium accident in 1964 and was transferred to a building where a similar exposure was unlikely. There, however, he was exposed to different radiation.

        In the same way, management was less than candid about his wife's urine test results in 1980, Mr. Ryan wrote: managers said it was switched with another employee's urine or contaminated in the lab.

        Finally, Mr. Ryan said, managers admitted his wife's urine was not tested and his previous test result was reported as the current analysis to save time and money.

        Mr. Ryan objects to the settlement, saying it does not protect workers adequately or assure them of lifetime primary health care insurance.

        Reject it and order a broader representation at new settlement negotiations, Mr. Ryan urged Judge Rice. “This is the only fair way to treat the people who may have given their lives to win the Cold War.”

       



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