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August 7, 1996

Hanford Health Information Archives Offers Unique History of Exposure to Radiation in US Northwest

JAMA. 1996;276(5):354. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540050014005

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GONZAGA UNIVERSITY in Spokane, Wash, the health agencies of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, and 9 Indian nations have collaborated to establish a unique repository of health and other personal information from the Hanford downwinders, individuals who were or may have been exposed to radiation from the Hanford Nuclear Reservation plutonium plant (known as the Hanford Site).

The Hanford Health Information Archives, which opened July 24, will collect, preserve, and make available to the public unedited health records, questionnaires, and other personal information provided by the downwinders.

According to the Hanford Health Information Network, the Hanford Site was established by the United States government in 1943 to produce plutonium, such as that used in the bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, on August 9,1945—3 days after the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. The events precipitated Japan's surrender on August 14, 1945.

This plant was the first reactor in the world