Congress finds that employees who worked in Department of Energy test sites and later contracted chronic silicosis should also be considered for inclusion in the compensation program. Recognizing that chronic silicosis resulting from exposure to silica is not a condition unique to the nuclear weapons industry, it is not the intent of Congress with this subchapter to establish a precedent on the question of chronic silicosis as a compensable occupational disease. Consequently, it is the sense of Congress that a further determination by the President is appropriate before these workers are included in the compensation program.
(b) Certification by President
A covered employee with chronic silicosis shall be treated as a covered employee (as defined in section
7384l(1) of this title) for the purposes of the compensation program required by section
7384d of this title unless the President submits to Congress not later than 180 days after October 30, 2000, the certification of the President that there is insufficient basis to include such employees. The President shall submit with the certification any recommendations about the compensation program with respect to covered employees with chronic silicosis as the President considers appropriate.
(c) Exposure to silica in the performance of duty
A covered employee shall, in the absence of substantial evidence to the contrary, be determined to have been exposed to silica in the performance of duty for the purposes of the compensation program if, and only if, the employee was present for a number of work days aggregating at least 250 work days during the mining of tunnels at a Department of Energy facility located in Nevada or Alaska for tests or experiments related to an atomic weapon.
(d) Covered employee with chronic silicosis
For purposes of this subchapter, the term “covered employee with chronic silicosis” means a Department of Energy employee, or a Department of Energy contractor employee, with chronic silicosis who was exposed to silica in the performance of duty as determined under subsection (c) of this section.
(e) Chronic silicosis
For purposes of this subchapter, the term “chronic silicosis” means a nonmalignant lung disease if—
(1)the initial occupational exposure to silica dust preceded the onset of silicosis by at least 10 years; and
(2)a written diagnosis of silicosis is made by a medical doctor and is accompanied by—
(A)a chest radiograph, interpreted by an individual certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health as a B reader, classifying the existence of pneumoconioses of category 1/0 or higher;
(B)results from a computer assisted tomograph or other imaging technique that are consistent with silicosis; or
(C)lung biopsy findings consistent with silicosis.
2001—Subsec. (e)(2)(A). Pub. L. 107–107substituted “category 1/0” for “category 1/1”.
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Statutes at Large
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