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ATSDR Study Finds Hypothyroidism More Prevalent in Men
Living Near Hanford Nuclear Reservation


For Immediate Release:
July 24, 2006

Agency to present findings at community meeting July 26

ATLANTA – A study by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) shows that men living near the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington have a small increased risk for developing thyroid disease. Findings will be discussed during an ATSDR-sponsored public availability session on July 26.

People who lived near the Hanford Nuclear Reservation were exposed to radiation. ATSDR conducted the Hanford Birth Cohort study based on community concerns about autoimmune and cardiovascular disease health effects resulting from exposure to iodine-131.  Although study participants reported some health problems more often than the general population other factors such as diet, lifestyle and work history make it difficult to determine if their exposure to radiation is a cause for these findings.

The public availability session will be held at the Red Lion Hotel, 802 George Washington Way in Richland from 6 to 8 p.m. ATSDR scientists will present summary information about the report followed by the opportunity for community members to meet individually with ATSDR representatives and ask questions or share comments and concerns.

The study found that when compared to men in distant counties, men who lived near the facility had a small increased risk of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, a condition that occurs when the thyroid gland makes too little thyroid hormone. The percentage of women reporting Hashimoto’s thyroiditis was consistent in all counties surveyed. ATSDR did not find a link between iodine-131 and autoimmune and cardiovascular diseases in either men or women.

To conduct the Hanford Birth Cohort study, ATSDR collected health information from people who were born in Washington between 1945 and 1951 and lived in Adams, Benton or Franklin counties for at least one year.  For comparison, ATSDR also collected health information for people who were born and lived in Mason, San Juan or Whatcom counties during the same period.

The complete study can be found online at Members of the community with questions regarding the report may contact Epidemiologist Caroline Cusack, toll free, at 1-888-422-8737; or Regional Representative Greg Thomas at 206-553-2113.

ATSDR, a federal public health agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, evaluates the human health effects of exposure to hazardous substances.


Members of the news media can request an interview by calling the NCEH/ATSDR Office of Communication at 770-488-0700.

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Updated July 24, 2006
For more information, contact ATSDR at:
770-488-0700 or e-mail (news media)

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