Some 'Downwinders' Still Wait To Be Compensated

April 14, 2014

A hearing will be held Monday in Mohave County for “downwinders,” or people exposed to radioactive fallout after nuclear tests in the 1950s near Las Vegas. Many have not yet been compensated by the federal government. 

Congress passed the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act more than two decades ago. The federal government allocated $50,000 to any person diagnosed with cancer or other disease linked to radiation exposure. It made the money available to people living in almost all northern Arizona counties but left out parts of Mohave County.

Mohave County has the highest cancer rate in Arizona. The federal government estimates downwinders in Mohave were exposed to three times as much radioactive fallout than people in a county next door, which is eligible for compensation.

Legislation proposed last year aims to right this wrong.