The University of Iowa continues offering free health screenings as part of a study into both Army and Department of Energy workers at the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant near Burlington. U-I professor Lawrence Fuortes, leads the study and says the goal is to examine those exposed to a metal called beryllium.
Fuortes says beryllium is a metal that was used as an alloy in tools such as hammers, wrenches and chisels because it is spark proof. He says workers could use the beryllium tools on high explosives without fear of sparking an explosion. The metal was later removed because of the risk of lung disease that is something like the lung disease created by asbestos.
Fuortes says they’re looking for workers in the plant prior to 2000. He says anyone who worked in the nuclear weapons assembly is eligible for screening, and if any evidence of occupational diseases are found, they’ll get help with compensation. Anyone who worked for the Army plant from 1940 through 2000 is elidible for the beryllium screening.
To register for a free screening or for questions about the study call toll free 866-282-5818 or visit the munitions worker study website .