downwinders

U.S. Federal Government/Public domain

A bipartisan group in Congress has introduced a compensation bill for those sickened by nuclear testing in the Southwest during the 1950s and ’60s. The group known as downwinders suffers high levels of health problems caused by radiation exposure. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports.


Arizona’s Senator John McCain and Congressman Paul Gosar are pushing legislation that would give compensation to “down winders” in Mohave County. As Arizona Public Radio’s Aaron Granillo reports, a federal law excludes parts of the county from receiving financial relief.

Jean Bishop was a baby when atomic explosions would fill the sky near her home in Nevada. It was in the early 50s, when her family lived downwind from government nuclear test sites. Then, in 2013, Bishop developed breast cancer. A year later, her sister received the same diagnosis.

Today is the first National Downwinders Day. They are the folks in Western states who were affected by radiation exposure from nuclear test sites in Nevada. Last year, the U.S. Senate voted unanimously to honor downwinders with a special day of recognition.