Who we are:
The University of Iowa College of Public Health
What we do:
The University of Iowa College of Public Health administers medical screenings to former workers from two DOE facilities in Iowa: the BAECP/Line 1/Division B at the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant (IAAP) in West Burlington, Iowa, operational between 1949 and mid-1975, and the Ames Laboratory on the campus of Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, established in 1942 and still in operation throughout today. Medical screenings are held in four locations in Iowa: Ames, West Burlington, Mount Pleasant and Iowa City.
Nearly 11,000 workers were employed in the manufacture and disassembly of nuclear weapons at the BAECP with an estimated 2,696 still living and have known addresses; 38 percent of those do not live in Iowa and are being referred to the NSSP for screenings. Medical screenings for BAECP workers began in 2002. As of September 30, 2021, a total of 1,432 former workers have been screened and 1,973 rescreening exams have been completed.
Over 14,000 employees worked at the Ames Laboratory conducting materials science and applied chemical and physical research, and 11,535 of those workers are still living and have known addresses; 68 percent do not live in Iowa and are being referred to NSSP for screenings. Medical screenings for former Ames Laboratory workers began in 2006. As of September 30, 2021, a total of 2,203 former workers have been screened and 2,253 rescreening exams have been completed.
What we have found:
- Chest X-rays: 15 percent of 2,081 participants demonstrated findings consistent with work-related lung disease.
- Pulmonary function tests: 21 percent of 2,184 participants demonstrated findings consistent with obstructive disease.
- Beryllium Lymphocyte Proliferation Tests (BeLPT): 3 percent of 2,270 participants had at least one abnormal BeLPT.
- No ELCD program participants have been diagnosed with primary lung cancer.
- Lung cancer was detected in 0 of 21 DOE workers tested.
The COVID-19 case rates are regularly monitored and the medical screenings have occurred when the COVID-19 rates are low. Outreach recruitment mailings, participant enrollment and NSSP referrals have continued throughout along with assisting former workers and survivors with EEOICP claims.
The COVID-19 Safety Protocol has been modified to assess vaccination status and provide spirometry testing. Prior to scheduling medical screenings, risk assessment is conducted of the county COVID-19 case trends; the screening clinic’s COVID-19 safety guidelines and readiness; and the participant’s risk of complications from COVID-19 and their COVID-19 vaccination status, testing, exposure, symptoms and psychological comfort with having a medical screening appointment. Additional precautions are taken during the screening appointment with PPE, temperature readings, no-contact paperwork, physical distancing where applicable and disinfecting surfaces. The COVID-19 antibody serology blood test is offered to non-vaccinated former workers.
Marek Mikulski, MD, PhD, MPH
Dr. Mikulski is an Adjunct Assistant Professor and Research Scientist in Occupational and Environmental Health at the University of Iowa. He received his PhD and MPH degrees from the University of Iowa and Maryland from the Medical University of Lodz, Poland. Dr. Mikulski is an occupational epidemiologist with over 19 years of research experience, including studies of health effects of exposures in nuclear and conventional munitions production, adverse birth outcomes from use of pesticides, and effects of age on assessment of pulmonary function. His research interests include a broad area of work-related lung disease, with specific interest in epidemiology and novel, computer-based methods used in diagnosing lung disease. Dr. Mikulski has published extensively and delivered presentations in these areas both at national and international meetings. He has also been an investigator on several occupational health/occupational medicine studies and projects, including those on the training programs in Europe where he served on the Board of the European Association of Schools of Occupational Medicine.
Dr. Mikulski has been the PI on the Iowa FWP since 2018 and was the Co-PI beginning in 2008. He has also been actively involved in studies of health effects of Iowa Department of Defense conventional munitions workers. Dr. Mikulski is also a liaison with Department of Labor, DOE, and congressional representation from the State of Iowa for issues relating to exposure profile and verification of employment for Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act claims.
Toll-free number: 1-866-282-5818
Web site: www.iowafwp.org