On the National Day of Remembrance for Downwinders, Rep. Greg Stanton renewed his commitment to bring justice to victims of radiation exposure in Mohave County in northwestern Arizona and Clark County in southern Nevada. He will introduce the Downwinders Parity Act of 2021 later this week.

Stanton began his fight in the last Congress by pushing to amend the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA), which makes it possible for victims of illnesses resulting from atmospheric nuclear testing and uranium industry employment to file claims with the Department of Justice. His bill would update RECA to include both Mohave and Clark counties as affected areas—a change Stanton argues is long overdue.

“Downwinders and advocates have been fighting for this justice and recognition for many years. It’s past time we fix this oversight,” said Stanton. “This bill will ensure that Arizonans adversely affected by our country’s national security decisions will have access to the health care treatments and resources they deserve.”

Unlike residents in other affected areas of Arizona, Nevada and Utah, the residents of lower Mohave County and most of Clark County have never been compensated by the federal government. Stanton’s bill would also instruct the Attorney General to submit a report to Congress outlining what efforts will be undertaken to educate and conduct outreach to those made newly eligible.


This National Day of Remembrance for Downwinders, January 27, 2021, marks the 70th Anniversary of the first atmospheric nuclear test at the Nevada Proving Ground test site, approximately 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada. 

The United States government conducted nearly 200 atmospheric weapons development tests as part of Cold War security from 1945 to 1962—an era when other nations also engaged in nuclear weapons testing and proliferation. These tests exposed thousands of Americans to cancer-causing ionized radiation from nuclear fallout.

When the injuries were discovered, Congress attempted to make amends on behalf of the nation by passing the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act to establish a trust fund for partial restitution to individuals who have contracted certain cancers and other serious diseases that can be directly attributed to the radiation exposure from the nuclear weapons testing.

Unfortunately, that bill included serious boundary flaws that have prevented otherwise eligible Arizonans from receiving justice and the compensation to which they are entitled. Americans that reside in counties in close proximity to where the testing occurred are excluded from this program for no logical scientific reason, specifically residents in Mohave County, Arizona and Clark County, Nevada.

The serious effects of exposure to low doses of radiation can be unpredictable, but incredibly harmful. There’s a higher tendency among Downwinders to develop certain cancers including Leukemia, Multiple Myeloma, Lymphomas and many more. RECA covers 19 compensable diseases.

Stanton introduced similar legislation last year, the Downwinders Parity Act of 2020 and later pushed the solution as an amendment in the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act. The Downwinder’s Parity Act of 2021 builds on that legislation by ensuring the DOJ report to Congress all outreach and educational measures undertaken.