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Division of Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation (DEEOIC)

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Cancer, Radiogenic

Below are the head notes for the FAB decisions and orders relating to the topic heading, Cancer, Radiogenic. The head notes are grouped under the following subheadings: Changes in dose reconstruction methodology, Compensable occupational illness, Dose reconstruction, Medical evidence, Part E cancer claims, Probability of causation, and Specified cancers. To view a particular decision or order in its entirety, click on the hyperlink for that decision or order at the end of the head note.

Changes in dose reconstruction methodology

  • DEEOIC directed that all cases potentially affected by the release of OCAS-PEP-013, entitled “Evaluation of the Impact of Changes to the Isotopic Ratios for the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant,” are to be reopened and returned to NIOSH for a new dose reconstruction. EEOICPA Fin. Dec. No. 61433-2006 (Dep’t of Labor, April 25, 2008).

Compensable occupational illness

Dose reconstruction

Medical evidence

Part E cancer claims

  • A Part E cancer claim based on employment at a RECA section 5 facility, for which the employee has not received a section 5 RECA award, will be referred to NIOSH for a dose reconstruction. EEOICPA Fin. Dec. No. 10009704-2007 (Dep’t of Labor, February 22, 2010).
  • To establish eligibility for benefits for radiogenic cancer under Part E, an employee must show that he or she: has been diagnosed with cancer; was a civilian DOE contractor employee or a civilian RECA section 5 uranium worker who contracted that cancer after beginning employment at a DOE facility or a RECA section 5 facility; and that the cancer was at least as likely as not related to exposure to radiation at a DOE facility or a RECA section 5 facility. EEOICPA Fin. Dec. No. 10009704-2007 (Dep’t of Labor, February 22, 2010).

Probability of causation

  • If all primary cancers claimed have not gone through dose reconstruction when the 50% threshold has been reached, NIOSH will not complete dose reconstruction for the remainder of the primary cancers. The calculation of additional doses for the remaining primary cancers would only make the final numerical value of the probability of causation larger, and all of the cancers, including those for which NIOSH did not perform a dose calculation, are covered for medical benefits under Part B. EEOICPA Fin. Dec. No. 10522-2004 (Dep’t of Labor, November 14, 2003).
  • Relying on a 1978 medical report in which the worker provided a history that he was a “heavy smoker-2ppd x 30 years,” the FAB independently determined the probability of causation using a smoking history parameter of “>40 cig/day (currently).” That parameter was considered to be the most reliable estimate of the employee’s smoking history. EEOICPA Fin. Dec. No. 12659-2004 (Dep’t of Labor, November 6, 2003).
  • By definition, a probability of causation of 50% is established using NIOSH-IREP whenever radiation exposure doubles the natural baseline incidence of a particular cancer, regardless of whether the baseline is low or high. EEOICPA Fin. Dec. No. 21570-2005 (Dep’t of Labor, May 26, 2005).
  • In determining probability of causation for breast cancer claims, similar doses are required for males and females because the risk coefficient is the same for both sexes. EEOICPA Fin. Dec. No. 21570-2005 (Dep’t of Labor, May 26, 2005).
  • Effective February 28, 2006, NIOSH implemented NIOSH-IREP version 5.5, replacing version 5.4. In claim where the first probability of causation calculation was performed by district office using version 5.4 and the second by FAB using version 5.5, but both calculations were more than 50%, there was no change in the outcome of the claim. EEOICPA Fin. Dec. No. 29552-2006 (Dep’t of Labor, April 5, 2006).
  • FAB concluded that the effect of the employee’s alleged exposure to radiation prior to her period of covered employment and her non-employment exposure to radiation during her covered employment could not be taken into consideration by DEEOIC as “other relevant factors” in its probability of causation determination under Part B. While EEOICPA directs that the regulatory guidelines for determining the probability of causation for cancer claimed under Part B “shall take into consideration. . .other relevant factors,” the task of devising these guidelines (and taking those “other relevant factors” into account) was assigned by the President to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, not the Secretary of Labor. DEEOIC is required to apply those guidelines, which are incorporated into NIOSH-IREP, and does not have the authority to alter the guidelines to take into account the non-covered employment exposures alleged in this case. EEOICPA Order No. 50245-2004 (Dep’t of Labor, April 14, 2011).

Specified cancers