Public meetings in Southern Utah to discuss scheduled end of downwinder compensation program

Photo by Ridofranz/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A program set up to financially compensate people who lived through the era of nuclear weapons testing in the Nevada desert in the 1950s and 1960s will soon come to an end.

Intermountain Dixie Regional Medical Center announced that the hospital’s exposure screening and education program will be holding public information meetings to discuss the scheduled end of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, which expires July 9, 2022. Two meetings will take place in Southern Utah, one in St. George this Wednesday and one in Enterprise May 15.

According to a press release from Dixie Regional, information will be presented about the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act and possible compensation available to downwinders, a term used to describe the more than 60,000 people who were exposed to radioactive fallout in Southern Utah and eastern Nevada during the nuclear testing at the Nevada Test Site from 1951-58 and July of 1962.

“People should be aware that the legislation funding RECA is set to expire in 2022. Your help contacting our legislators to ask their help in extending this deadline is greatly appreciated,” Rebecca Barlow, project director for the Radiation Exposure Screening Clinic at Intermountain Dixie Regional Hospital, said in the press release.

Cancers that qualify under the act include leukemia (excluding chronic lymphocytic leukemia), multiple myeloma, lymphomas (other than Hodgkin’s) and primary cancers of the pharynx, small intestine, salivary gland, brain, stomach, urinary tract, bladder, colon, thyroid, pancreas, breast, esophagus, bile ducts, liver, gall bladder, lung and ovary.

The meeting in St. George will be held Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Intermountain Cancer Center of St. George, 600 S. Medical Center Drive. The Enterprise meeting will be held May 15 at 6:30 p.m. in the Enterprise City Council Room, 375 S. 200 East.

The meetings are open to the public. For more information, call 435-251-2875.

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