Wednesday, April 2, 2008

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Many more photos to come.
I have had a life changing experience and that experience was a meeting with Judy Padilla. Without going into the details of our 3 hour meeting, I can say that during the course of our discussion I've decided to make a documentary film about Rocky Flats Workers and possibly a book. It doesn't matter if I make the documentary or if someone else makes it, it has to be made and shown and I will work my ass off to get the ball rolling.

Obviously, I am not a documentary filmmaker.... but I wasn't a photographer until I was 30, so there you go.


Judy Padilla is a breast cancer survivor and former Rocky Flats Worker. She's been denied compensation and health care from the Department of Labor and NIOSH, The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. She was told she could reapply "if (she) gets another cancer, even a skin cancer." Judy Padilla worked with weapons grade plutonium at Rocky Flats and worked in room 771.

Judy also worked producing plutonium ingots with 4 men who have had breast cancer. And she's worked with people who have had pancreatic cancer and brain cancer and lung cancer and bladder cancer and kidney cancer and thyroid cancer, almost all of whom have their claims denied and told that their cancers did not come from working at Rocky Flats. This is just the tip of the fucking iceberg.

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This is from latest denial Judy has received. They have lost 34 months of Judy's records from Rocky Flats. 34 months. And because they have "lost" her exposure records, NIOSH has "reconstructed" her exposure levels using a coworker's records. They don't say who the coworker is or where they worked.

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However, in the same report that states that Judy did not get cancer from her job at Rocky Flats, NIOSH states that Judy was exposed to plutonium more than once at Rocky Flats...
"there were several incidents of plutonium contamination over the years due to the nature of Ms. Padilla's job."
"The DOE (US Department of Energy) dosimetry files recorded a low level skin contamination in 1989 and a wound contamination in 1987."
"A small inhalation of plutonium was recorded in 2000"

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NIOSH has put the burden of proof on the Rocky Flats Workers and at her own expense Judy has been tested twice to see if she carries BRCA1 or BRCA2, the "breast cancer gene." She doesn't.

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Judy showing her reconstructed breast. During one of the meetings when Judy was denied compensation, she took out her prosthetic breast and slammed it on the table and said, "This is what Rocky Flats did to me." This was before her breast reconstruction surgery.

I really want to thank Judy for letting me such a powerful and intimate photo... it will make a difference when people are forced to confront what's been done to the workers.

Rocky Flats

Ex-FBI agent charges feds with radioactive coverup at Rocky Flats
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Nila's husband died 5 years ago from pancreatic cancer. The onus is on Nila and her daughters to prove that his cancer came from his job at Rocky Flats. When checking in on the claim earlier this week she called the Department of Labor and they said they had sent the latest paper work over to NIOSH and when she called NIOSH they said they hadn't received it and when she called DOL back they said they couldn't trace it, once it was out of their hands the Department of Labor was done with the claim.

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Years ago Nila got a call from school that her husband hadn't picked up their daughter, but she hadn't heard anything from him. He had hit his head on an overhead pipe and was being treated for contamination... he was being scrubbed down. When he arrived home he was bandaged all around his neck because of the scrubbing and he was wearing Department of Energy long johns, top and bottom, with DOE screened on the front. She saved the shirt.
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Charlie Wolf
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Cliff and Sharon Delforge

The photo on the chair is a photo of Doug Delforge, who died from brain cancer about 6 weeks ago. Both Doug and his father Cliff worked at Rocky Flats... Cliff worked at Rocky Flats for 35 years as a monitor.

Here is an excerpt from a letter Cliff Delforge wrote to Shelby Hallmark, the Department of Labor deputy assistant secretary for the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs.

March 3, 2008

"...I am formally requesting that I be given a written explanation regarding the various aspects of (Doug Delforge's) claim.

First, why is it that it took 5 years for the panel of doctors to accept the claim? The evidence that my son's illness had a direct relationship to the ionizing radiation exposure he received due to the work he performed at Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Production Facility was readily available and had been in existence since the early 1950's. Why?

It is totally inconceivable that the panel of "experts" could not find in 5 years what it took me, a total novice in the area of brain tumors, less than 30 minutes to find the initial information, and 5 hours to find the total body of evidence that I presented to the Department of Labor (DOL) panel. These people had the power of the United States government at their disposal and had to have had access to more sophisticated data bases that the world wide web, which I used. I would like to know exactly which data bases they did use, as I would like to study them myself to determine why there were apparently no references to the relationship between ionizing radiation (I.R.) and meningioma.

I can only think of two reasons why the panel of doctors would be unable to make the connection between I.R. and meningioma.

1. That the doctors on the panel were totally incompetent to make accurate judgements in the area of brain tumors and failed to make any attempt to educate themselves in the matter, in which case their behavior would be shameful.

2. That the doctors were competent to make these judgements and had knowledge of the connection between I.R. and meningioma and simply refused to accept the claim even when they knew it to be valid. If this is the case, then their behavior is, in my opinion, criminal. "


It's criminal either way.
It took me less than 2 minutes to look up information that would lead me to primary sources indicating ionizing radiation exposure caused brain tumors. Hello?

Meningioma at e-oncology

Brain Science Foundation

This is common knowledge.

Thanks to Cliff and Sharon for letting me come over during such a difficult time.
Thank you- Jennifer Thompson, Cliff and Sharon Delforge, Joanne Southall and Darcy, Charlie Wolf, Nila Adkins and Judy Padilla. I look forward to working with all of you again in the future.