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HomeHealth and LifestyleWSIB to review 250 GE Peterborough claims previously denied

WSIB to review 250 GE Peterborough claims previously denied

PETERBOROUGH-The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) announced today that a Dedicated Review Team will re-examine more than 250 claims filed since 2004 that had been denied.

“We want to make sure we are applying the latest science and evidence to make decisions about these claims,” said Armando Fatigati, WSIB Vice President of Complex Claims. “The Peterborough community has presented information that helps clarify the exposures people had to various chemicals and substances. We’ll be looking at what they were exposed to, how much of it they were exposed to, and how long people were exposed to these chemicals and substances.”

It’s unclear exactly what the new information is that helps to clarify the exposures but a group of current and retired GE employees as well as family members of employees who passed away from illnesses suspected to have been caused by toxic chemicals at the plant released a 173 page report in May outlining the chemicals used at the plant. The report was two years in the making and researchers interviewed more than 75 workers to document working conditions and production processes at the plant. The exhaustive investigation mapped the entire facility and outlined the chemicals used in each area between 1945 and 2000. Christine Arnott, Public Affairs Manager at GE told Kawartha 411, “The Peterborough community has come forward with a number of pieces of information – all of which help to better understand the number of chemicals and substances used, where they were used, and how much exposure people had to them.”

The report was meant to back up claims made to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board that were denied. Hundred’s of workers have come forward claiming their illnesses including cancer were caused by the thousands of chemicals they were exposed to while working at the plant. The group included the Occupational and Environmental Health Coalition and Unifor the Union. Click here for more:

Connecting the dots between toxic chemical exposure and cancer rates at GE

Some employees who developed cancer have been waiting for years for compensation from WSIB. Sandy Lebeau has been fighting for justice for her husband Ron for more than 22 years. Ron is one of a cluster of cancer cases found in employees of the General Electric Plant in Peterborough. WSIB says since 2004 there have been 662 claims registered for past and present employees of GE in Peterborough for a variety of occupational illnesses and health conditions. Of these, 255 claims were filed specifically for cancer. 71 claims have been allowed for cancer, 61 abandoned , 4 are pending decisions and 119 denied. Ron’s is one of them. He worked in one of the most toxic areas of the plant. Here is Ron’s story:http://www.vanmeerfreepress.com/widow-still-waiting-for-compensation-22-years-later/

WSIB says the review will look at both cancer and non-cancer related claims and will be focused on some types of cancer where updated scientific research supports linkages between specific levels of chemical exposures and specific illnesses.

Claims where advances in technology may allow next-of-kin to be identified who had previously not been and claims where a greater understanding of the intensity of exposure and/or number of agents exposed to, may impact the decision will also get another look.

Fatigati says that since 1993 decisions have been made in over 2,400 claims related to GE Peterborough with over 80% allowed. He also noted there may be more new claims yet to be filed with the WSIB.

“If you worked at GE Peterborough and think you may have a work-related illness but are not sure you have a claim with the WSIB, we want to hear from you,” Fatigati said. “If you qualify for additional health services or benefits, we want you to get them as quickly as possible.

People can call 1-800-387-0750 or visit wsib.on.ca/GEPeterborough to learn more and file a claim.

Officials say they will work quickly to complete the process. “We will be working as quickly as possible to review the claims and expect it will take several months to complete the review.” Arnott says

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Pamela Vanmeer
Pamela Vanmeerhttps://www.kawartha411.ca/
Pamela VanMeer is a two time winner of the prestigious Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) Award. Her investigative reports on abuse in Long Term Care Homes garnered international attention for the issue and won the Ron Laidlaw Award. She is a former reporter and anchor at CHEX News, now Global Peterborough and helped launch the New CHEX Daily, a daily half hour talk show. While at CHCH News in Hamilton she covered some of the biggest news stories of the day.

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