CONTACT: DAN MCMILLAN
2130 Medical Laboratories
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-6835; fax (319) 335-8034
Release: Aug. 17, 2000
College of Public Health surveys Iowa atomic weapons
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Under an agreement with the U.S.
Department of Energy, investigators in the University of Iowa College of Public
Health are initiating a survey of the health status of former atomic weapons
workers at the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant (IAAP) near Burlington.
The survey will attempt to identify the potentially
thousands of former IAAP employees who worked in atomic weapons manufacture
at the plant, in an area known as Line 1. From 1945 through 1975, workers
on Line 1 assembled and disassembled atomic weapons for the U.S. Atomic Energy
Commission, the precursor of the Department of Energy (DOE).
"The IAAP is one of only two facilities in the United
States known to have manufactured atomic weapons," said Laurence Fuortes,
M.D., UI associate professor of occupational and environmental health and
principal investigator on the DOE project. "This project will attempt to locate
and identify those individuals who were directly involved in this work and
determine whether their health has been affected by their occupational exposures."
In addition to fissionable or radioactive materials,
it is possible workers may have been exposed to potentially hazardous levels
of a number of other substances, including explosives, solvents, epoxies,
heavy metals and harmful dusts, Fuortes said.
The UI College of Public Health investigators will
examine existing data sources, such as employment records, to identify former
Line 1 workers. They will also conduct focus group interviews and pilot surveys,
and host public meetings in the Burlington area to locate former employees
and ascertain health concerns.
An advisory board, consisting of local unions, the
IAAP site management, community representatives, and state and local public
health officials and medical providers, will be established to assist in the
identification of worker health issues, provide input on the direction of
the study, and provide a means for community input.
For more information, contact Howard Nicholson at
the UI College of Public Health, at (319) 335-4210.
University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership
between the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the
patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide.