EXCERPTS FROM A LETTER IN SUPPORT OF A VETERAN'S CLAIM FOR
COMPENSATION FOR A SERVICE-RELATED RADIATION INJURY

 
CONSULTING IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST
550 South Bay Avenue
Islip, NY 11751
 
(516) 581-7742
(516) 277-4583 Fax
jbeyea@cipi.com
http://www.cipi.com
 
May 1, 1997
 
Chairperson
Rating Board
Regional Office
Department of Veterans Affairs
Ft. Harrison, MT
By Fax: (000) 000-0000
Re: Mr. XXXXXX
Docket #: ZZZZZZZ
 
Dear Chairperson:

      I am Jan Beyea, Ph.D, a nuclear physicist with extensive experience in dose and risk reconstruction. I am an expert in the modeling of off-site exposures of, and risks to, people who have been exposed to radioactive and non-radioactive hazardous substances resulting from releases from nuclear facilities. I have prepared dose analyses related to nuclear facilities for the Swedish Energy Commission, the State of Lower Saxony in Germany, the Attorneys General of New York and Massachusetts, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the Governor of Pennsylvania, the Three Mile Island Public Health Fund and the President's Council on Environmental Quality.

      In 1982, I was a participant in the "International Comparison of Reactor Accident Models," organized by the Nuclear Energy Agency of the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (O.E.C.D.) My dose estimation computer model, developed while I was a researcher at Princeton University, was one of several from the United States that was chosen as part of an international comparison.

      For the last three years I have served as an expert consultant on dose/risk reconstruction for personal-injury plaintiffs in consolidated law suits in progress around the Hanford facility. As a result of this work, I am intimately familiar with dose/risk reconstruction issues specifically relevant to Mr. XXXXX, as well as the scientific aspects of legal issues surrounding personal injury causation.

      I also model exposures for use in epidemiological studies. For instance, I was a co-author on two TMI epidemiological studies: 1) "Cancer Rates after the Three Mile Island Nuclear Accident and Proximity of Residence to the Plant", (Hatch, Wallenstein, Beyea, Nieves, Susser), American Journal of Public Health, 18(6), June 1991, and 2) "Cancer Near the Three Mile Island Nuclear Plant: Radiation Emissions", (Hatch, Beyea, Nieves, Susser), American Journal of Epidemiology, Sept. 1990. In the area of historical exposure reconstruction, I currently serve as a consultant to the Columbia University Department of Epidemiology in connection with their study of Breast Cancer on Long Island.

      I also serve on the Board on Energy and Environment of the National Research Council, which oversees studies on various contaminated nuclear sites.

      Under the terms of the Department of Veterans Affairs Adjudication Manual, M21-1, Part III, section 5.12d(4), January 7, 1992, I am a credible source in that I fulfill the dictates of 38 CFR 3.311b(a)(3)(ii). The CFR dictates that dose reconstruction material and opinions be furnished by a person ". . . certified by an appropriate professional body in the field of health physics, nuclear medicine or radiology." I believe that my peer-reviewed publications in dose reconstruction and epidemiology, and my selection by the Nuclear Energy Agency for the comparison of reactor accident consequence models, satisfy these criteria.

      I have carefully reviewed Mr. XXXXX's medical history and the facts surrounding this particular claim. He was stationed at Camp Hanford on the following dates:

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      The work to date by the Hanford Environmental Dose Reconstruction project (HEDR) funded by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has focused almost exclusively on exposures to radioiodine and has only casually treated exposures that I believe are most relevant to Mr. XXXXX’s claim. Nevertheless, it is clear from the HEDR documents, as well as documents found through litigation discovery, that hot radioactive particles were deposited on the ground around Hanford for many years prior to Mr. XXXXX activities there. Mr. XXXXX has a unique service and medical history that makes it hard to believe his injuries were not Hanford related. I speak to the fact that he was a truck driver during the years stated above and as such would have been abnormally exposed to hot particles resuspended by traffic moving around him. (Moving vehicles are known to highly exacerbate resuspension.) These resuspended "hot" particles would have landed on his skin in amounts that far exceed what would be expected for other individuals in the vicinity engaged in other operations. He would also have breathed these resuspended particles into his lungs.

      Furthermore, his medical history marks him as an individual susceptible to radiation. Recent advances in understanding of cancer make it clear that individuals can have widely differing susceptibilities.

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      In conclusion, Mr. XXXXX was many times more likely to suffer injury from Hanford-related injury than the average person.

      Documents not available to HEDR because of their recent discovery in litigation support Mr. XXXXX’s claim about lung disease. These documents make it highly likely that huge quantities of plutonium were released from the plutonium finishing plant at Hanford (the "Z Plant") during the time Mr. XXXXX was working nearby.

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      As a result, Mr. XXXXX was undoubtedly exposed to significantly higher doses than reported by HEDR. The information in the newly discovered documents cannot be incorporated into complete dose reconstructions for at least another year. Still, the information we have at hand make it clear that Mr. XXXXX was exposed and has probably suffered health damage as a result of that exposure. In particular, I believe it highly credible that both his skin and lung cancers were caused by Hanford emissions. I believe he meets the threshold standard ("at least as likely as not") set out for granting service-related compensation (please see 38 CFR 3.311b(c)(1)(I)).

      I urge you as strongly as I can to contact me if you have any question about my statement. It would be tragic if you were to decide against Mr. XXXXX without our having a chance to resolve any questions you may have about my professional opinion in this matter. It would take years before we could re-visit Mr. XXXXX's case in a meaningful way. Thus, feel free to contact me if you desire further information.

Sincerely yours,

 

Jan Beyea, Ph.D.