The Hanford Thyroid Disease Study
About This Guide
Following more than 12 years of scientific research, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have released the Hanford Thyroid Disease Study (HTDS) Final Report.
The HTDS, mandated by Congress in 1988, was conducted to determine whether thyroid disease is increased among people who were exposed as children to atmospheric releases of radioactive iodine from the Hanford Nuclear Site (Hanford) in Washington State from 1944 through 1957.
CDC and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center prepared this guide to help communicate the meaning of the HTDS to the public. The guide summarizes the findings, explains how and why the study was conducted, and includes information about the treatment of thyroid disease.
In the mid-1980s, the U.S. Department of Energy released documents showing that large amounts of radioactive materials, including iodine-131, had been released into the environment from Hanford since the mid-1940s. The public, health officials and scientists were concerned that these materials could have harmed the health of people living in the region.
The HTDS was conducted in response to these concerns. While no study can determine the cause of an individual case of thyroid disease, an epidemiological study, such as the HTDS, provides the best way to determine whether disease has increased in a population exposed to a potentially harmful agent such as radiation.
Over the years, many thousands of people have been involved in the HTDS, including the 3,440 participants of the study. Members of the public, health care officials, physicians, scientists and many others have also been involved.
CDC remains committed to providing useful information to the public about the HTDS and related issues.