Tonawanda News — In his letter, Higgins called upon officials at NIOSH to “strongly consider these facts” and to extend the “residual contamination period” for exposure at the site until 1976, when he said records indicate a “proper” clean-up commenced.
“It has now been six months since that meeting and we have received no demonstrable progress from your agency on your efforts to extend the residual contamination period, allowing these retired workers and their survivors the opportunity to receive compensation for deadly illnesses caused by this exposure which our government has been too slow to recognize,” Higgins wrote.
To date, Higgins’ office said Bethlehem Steel retirees who worked during eligible years and their family members have received more than $206 million in compensation and paid medical expenses.
Higgins met with members of the Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees Chapter 4-6 this week to discuss his continuing call for NIOSH to expand eligibility to include Bethlehem Steel employees who worked at the facility through 1976.
Lew Webber, a local advocate and President of the Bethlehem Steel Chapter for SOAR, said the effort must continue to make sure former Bethlehem Steel workers and their families receive the “justice” they deserve.
“I am a Bethlehem Steel retiree with no claim in this matter other than seeking justice for our workers and their families,” Webber said.