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Hanford Tank Farm Workers Required to Wear Respirators

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Another worker received a medical evaluation Thursday for exposure to chemical vapors at the Hanford site. Another worker received a medical evaluation Thursday for exposure to chemical vapors at the Hanford site.

KENNEWICK, WA - Another worker received a medical evaluation Thursday for exposure to chemical vapors at the Hanford site.

The non-Washington River Protection Solutions worker requested the evaluation after a previous "vapor incident."

This brings the total number of evaluations up to 26.

A Hanford tank farm worker tells NBC Right Now that Washington River Protection Solutions made a decision Thursday to require all workers in the "A" tank farms to wear respiratory gear.

This comes as a preventative measure following worker reports of exposure to chemical vapors.

A tank farm worker says this is a positive step, but it's still not enough.

WRPS confirms this new requirement started Thursday and said in an email to our reporter that this is a short-term requirement while the company reviews their industrial hygiene program.

WRPS says they have a Chemical Vapors Solutions Team made up of managers, employees and union members working to find solutions to protect workers and minimize chemical exposure.

A tank farm worker says he thinks workers at all tank farms should wear respirators.

The source explains, WRPS reports there were no chemical levels found where workers reported exposure because the level of chemicals picked up by monitors is below current standards that were first set in the 1980s. But that doesn't mean there were no chemical vapors detected. It just means that the levels were lower than the standards.

The worker says WRPS is considering lowering the standards to the levels where workers sensed the chemical vapors in recent weeks.

The worker says WRPS didn't think workers were telling the truth when reports began to come in about exposure to chemical vapors.

He says a WRPS management employee called the chemical vapor exposure reports quote, "B.S."

The worker says he thinks all work at the Hanford tank farms should be shut down until WRPS finds the source of these chemical vapors and a way to keep workers safe.

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