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Title: Contribution of radon and radon daughters to respiratory cancer

Contribution of radon and radon daughters to respiratory cancer This article reviews studies on the contribution of radon and radon daughters to respiratory cancer and proposes recommendations for further research, particularly a national radon survey. The steady-state outdoor radon concentration averages 200 pCi/m3, and indoor levels are about 4 times higher. The primary source of radon in homes is the underlying soil; entry depends on multiple variables and reduced ventilation for energy conservation increases indoor radon levels. Occupational exposures are expressed in units of radon daughter potential energy concentration or working level (WL). Cumulative exposure is the product of the working level and the time exposed. The unit for cumulative exposure is the working level month (WLM). The occupational standard for radon exposure is 4 WLM/year, and 2 WLM/year has been suggested as a guideline for remedial action in homes. Epidemiologic studies show that miners with cumulative radon daughter exposures somewhat below 100 WLM have excess lung cancer mortality. Some 3% to 8% of miners studied have developed lung cancer attributable to radon daughters. All of the underground mining studies show an increased risk of lung cancer with radon daughter exposure. All cell types of lung cancer increased with radon exposure. If radon and smoking act in a multiplicative more » manner, then the risk for smokers could be 10 times that for nonsmokers. The potential risk of lung cancer appears to be between 1 and 2 per 10,000/WLM, which yields a significant number of lung cancers as some 220 million persons in the United States are exposed on average to 10 to 20 WLM/lifetime. « less
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:6517470
Resource Type:Journal Article
Data Type:
Resource Relation:Journal Name: Environ. Health Perspect.; (United States)
Research Org:New York Univ. Medical Center, NY
Country of Publication:United States
Language:English
Subject: 63 RADIATION, THERMAL, AND OTHER ENVIRON. POLLUTANT EFFECTS ON LIVING ORGS. AND BIOL. MAT.; 54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; INDOOR AIR POLLUTION; NEOPLASMS; RISK ASSESSMENT; RADON; RADIATION HAZARDS; RADIONUCLIDE MIGRATION; RESPIRATORY SYSTEM; AIR; DAUGHTER PRODUCTS; EPIDEMIOLOGY; HOUSES; MINERS; MORTALITY; OCCUPATIONAL EXPOSURE; RADIATION MONITORING; RECOMMENDATIONS; TOBACCO SMOKES; AEROSOLS; AIR POLLUTION; BUILDINGS; COLLOIDS; DISEASES; DISPERSIONS; ELEMENTS; ENVIRONMENTAL TRANSPORT; FLUIDS; GASES; HAZARDS; HEALTH HAZARDS; ISOTOPES; MASS TRANSFER; MONITORING; NONMETALS; PERSONNEL; POLLUTION; RARE GASES; RESIDENTIAL BUILDINGS; RESIDUES; SMOKES; SOLS 560161* -- Radionuclide Effects, Kinetics, & Toxicology-- Man; 500300 -- Environment, Atmospheric-- Radioactive Materials Monitoring & Transport-- (-1989)