The Building Trades National Medical Screening Program (BTMed) provides free medical screening exams to construction workers formerly employed at Department of Energy (DOE) nuclear weapons research and production sites, who may be at increased risk for occupational illnesses. The medical screening exams are designed to identify work-related health conditions at an early, more treatable stage and contribute to the health and well-being of these workers.
The Kansas City National Security Campus (KCNSC), previously known as the Kansas City Plant (KCP), manufactured, and continues to manufacture, non-nuclear components for nuclear weapons. The plant produces non-nuclear mechanical, electronic, and engineered material components for U.S. national defense systems such as high-energy laser ignition systems, microwave hybrid microcircuit production, and miniature electromechanical devices. The Kansas City Plant/Kansas City National Security Campus is a National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) facility managed and operated by Honeywell Federal Manufacturing & Technologies that manufactures “85 percent of non-nuclear components that go into the [United States] nuclear stockpile.”
Sites like KCP/KCNSC are concern sites because workers at these DOE sites may have been exposed to compounds in vapors, dust, gases and fumes; for example, beryllium. Beryllium is a naturally occurring metal that is used in a variety of industrial applications including in the production of reactor fuel rods and bomb components. Even though construction workers did not work in manufacturing processes involving beryllium, they worked in the same buildings. Any form of maintenance, repair, renovation, demolition, or general construction.
Exposure to beryllium can cause an immune reaction that can lead to lung disease known as berylliosis, or chronic beryllium disease. Beryllium disease occurs among people who are exposed to dust or fumes from beryllium metal, metal oxides, alloys, ceramics or salts. Even very small amounts of exposure can cause disease.You are at risk of developing beryllium sensitization even after you leave the exposure point, with the risk continuing for the rest of your life, even if you test normally at one time.
The period of concern for the Kansas City Plant site extends from November 5th, 1948 all the way to present day. It is a primary site of concern. If you are, or perhaps someone you know is, a construction or trades worker who spent any amount of time at KCP between November 5th, 1948 and the present day, you’re eligible for a free medical screening from the Building Trades National Medical Screening Program. If you were exposed, medical treatment can be provided at no cost to you. Additionally, finding out that you were exposed will help the Department of Energy identify and offer screenings to other workers who may have also been exposed. This is a very serious matter that can be potentially life threatening.
Vicki Tarpley is the local contact for this program and can be reached at (816) 778-5166. She recently presented to the Kansas City Building and Construction Trades on the importance of having members screened.
For more information visit www.BTMed.org and to enroll call Toll Free 1-800-866-9663.Published