Hanford downwinder dies of thyroid cancer

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SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) -- Shannon Rhodes, who lost a major federal court case seeking to prove her thyroid cancer was caused by radioactive emissions from a nuclear weapons production site, has died.

Rhodes, 69, died of complications from thyroid cancer May 15, The Spokesman-Review reported Tuesday.

Rhodes was born in Spokane and grew up on a farm near Colfax. She was exposed to radioactive iodine-131 emissions from Hanford in the final years of World War II and the early years of the Cold War, according to a claim filed against the private contractors who ran Hanford for the government. Iodine was an unwanted byproduct of plutonium production.

She was among some 2,400 people who sued in the 1990s, claiming Hanford emissions made them sick.

A jury deadlocked on her first trial, leading to a 2005 mistrial verdict. A second jury rejected her claim.

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Information from: The Spokesman-Review, http://www.spokesman.com