Hanford 'Downwinders' Case Ends After Decades In Court
After more than two decades of fighting in court, the Hanford Downwinders case has ended. The approximately 3,000 Downwinders have all either dropped their claims or arrived at a settlement.
During World War II and the Cold War, Hanford released batches of radioactive iodine into the air. It was mainly deposited in farming areas north and east of Richland, Washington. That radioactive material was picked up by dairy cows and deposited in milk, which many children drank. The radioactive material concentrated in their thyroids.
Most Downwinders were from Eastern Washington and Idaho. And many remain skeptical of the government and bitter after their fight. They say they suffered from illnesses and cancer. A lot of them dropped out of the lawsuit before receiving any compensation.
The U.S. Department of Energy released a one-sentence statement Wednesday that said it’s “pleased this long-standing matter has been resolved.”