Radon Mitigation >> Where Does Radon Come From

Health effects observed in animals exposed to radon and radon decay products include lung carcinomas, pulmonary fibrosis, emphysema, and a shortening of life-span (U.S. DOE/Office of Energy Research 1988a). The incidence of respiratory tract tumors increased with an increase in cumulative exposure and Where Does Radon Come From with a decrease in rate of exposure (NAS 1988).  

Increased incidence of respiratory tract tumors was observed in rats at cumulative exposures as low as 20 WLM (NAS 1988). Exposure to Where Does Radon Come From ore dust or diesel fumes simultaneously with radon did not increase the incidence of lung tumors above that produced by radon progeny exposures alone (DOE/Office of Energy Research 1988a).  

Lifetime lung-tumor risk coefficients that have been observed in animals are similar to the life-time lung-cancer risk coefficients observed in human studies (DOE/Office of Energy Research 1988a). In a study of rats exposed to radon progeny and uranium ore dust simultaneously, Where Does Radon Come From it was observed that the risk of lung cancer was elevated at exposure levels similar to those found in homes. 

The risk decreased in proportion to the decrease in radon -progeny exposure (Cross et al, 1991). In 1988, a panel of world experts convened by the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer unanimously agreed that there is sufficient evidence to conclude that radon causes cancer in humans Where Does Radon Come From and in laboratory animals (IARC, 1988). 

Scientific committees assembled by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS, 1988), the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP, 1987), Where Does Radon Come From and the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurement (NCRP, 1984) also have reviewed the available data and agreed that radon exposure causes human lung cancer. 

Recognizing that radon is a significant public health risk, scientific and professional organizations such as the American Medical Association, the American Lung Association, Where Does Radon Come From and the National Medical Association have developed programs to reduce the health risks of radon. 

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reviewed the epidemiological data and Where Does Radon Come From recommended that the annual radon progeny exposure limit for the mining industry be lowered (NIOSH 1987). Is Occupational Exposure to radon Comparable to Residential Exposure? 

Because questions have been raised about the appropriateness of using the epidemiological studies of underground miners as a basis for estimating the risk radon poses to the general population, Where Does Radon Come From the EPA commissioned the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to investigate the difference between underground miners and members of the general public in the doses they receive per unit exposure due to inhaled radon progeny. 

The NAS report, published in 1991 (National Academy of Sciences, 1991, Comparative Dosimetry of radon in Mines and Homes. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.), Where Does Radon Come From concluded that it is reasonable to extrapolate from the miner data to a residential situation, but that the effective doses per unit of exposure for people in their homes is approximately thirty percent (30%) less than for the miners. 

In its analysis, NAS considered variables such as the amount and type of dust to which the radon decay particles would attach, the breathing rate of working miners compared to that of people at home, Where Does Radon Come From and the presence of women and children in the homes. EPA has adjusted its residential risk estimates accordingly. 

The result is still considerable -- EPA now estimates that approximately 14,000 lung cancer deaths in the United States per year are due to residential radon exposures, Where Does Radon Come From with an uncertainty range of 7,000 to 30,000. As more data are gathered about residential radon exposures, the risk estimates may be adjusted further. 

Enough data exists now, however, to be able to say with certainty that thousands of preventable lung cancer deaths annually in the United States are attributable to indoor residential exposure to radon. More Where Does Radon Come From information about residential exposure to radon is needed to answer important questions about radon's effect on women and children -- groups not included in the occupational studies of miners. 

Although children have been reported to be at greater risk than adults of developing certain types of cancer from radiation, currently there is no conclusive evidence that radon exposure places children at any greater risk. Some miner studies and animal studies indicate that for the same total exposure, Where Does Radon Come From a lower exposure over a longer time is more hazardous than short, high exposures. 

These findings increase concerns about residential radon exposures. Epidemiological case control studies are underway in the U.S. and Europe, the pooled results of which should enhance the understanding of the risk of residential exposure to Where Does Radon Come From. What About Smoking and radon Exposure? 

Some people ask whether the lung cancer deaths attributed to radon exposure actually may be the result of smoking. A 1989 study by researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the Centers for Disease Control, the Harvard School of Public Health, Where Does Radon Come From and the University of California at Davis demonstrated a greatly incased lung cancer risk in nonsmoking uranium miners exposed to high radon concentrations.

Compared to typical non-smoking populations, these miners had nine (9) to twelve (12) times the risk of developing lung cancer (Roscoe et al, JAMA 262(5): 629-633, 1989). Evidence from some of the epidemiological studies of underground miners, primarily U. S. uranium miners, Where Does Radon Come From indicate that radon exposure and smoking may have a synergistic relationship. 

Either smoking or radon exposure can independently increase the risk of lung cancer; however, Where Does Radon Come From exposure to both greatly enhances that risk. Your chances of getting lung cancer from radon depend mostly on: How much radon is in your home The amount of time you spend in your home Whether you are a smoker or have ever smoked

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