Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Study Finds Residential Radon Exposure Poses A Significant Lung Cancer Risk

Date:
May 26, 2000
Source:
University Of Iowa
Summary:
Long-term exposure to radon in the home is associated with lung cancer risk and presents a significant environmental health hazard, according to a study led by researchers at the University of Iowa College of Public Health.

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Long-term exposure to radon in the home is associated with lung cancer risk and presents a significant environmental health hazard, according to a study led by researchers at the University of Iowa College of Public Health.

The Iowa Radon Lung Cancer Study, funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, included investigators from the UI, St. John's University in Collegeville, Minn. and the University of Kansas. The results are published in the June 1 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology.

From 1993 to 1997, the researchers studied 1,027 Iowa women -- 413 who were newly diagnosed with lung cancer and 614 "controls" -- ages 40 to 84 who had lived in their homes for the past 20 years or more. The women studied in both groups included smokers as well as nonsmokers. Women were studied because they typically have less occupational exposures to substances that may cause lung cancer, and historically have spent more time in the home.

The researchers found that close to 60 percent of the basement radon concentrations for both the lung cancer cases (study participants with lung cancer) and the control group (participants without lung cancer) exceeded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency action level for radon of 4 picoCuries per liter (pCi/L). The researchers found that 33 percent of living areas for the lung cancer cases, and 28 percent of the living areas for the control group, exceeded the EPA's action level of 4 pCi/L.

Even at the EPA action level of 4 pCi/L, an approximate 50 percent excess lung cancer risk was found among the women in the study after correcting for the impact of smoking, according to Charles Lynch, UI professor of epidemiology and the study's principal investigator.

"What this indicates is that residential radon exposure is a significant cause of lung cancer," Lynch said.

At least four radon detection devices were placed in different areas in each of the study subjects' homes for one year. The researchers linked these multiple home radon measurements, as well as estimates on radon exposure outside the subjects' homes, with the subjects' past mobility history -- where and how much time they had spent outside or inside their homes or in the workplace, for example. With this information, the researchers were able to determine actual detailed exposure estimates for each study participant.

"This study incorporated the most sophisticated radon exposures analysis ever performed in a residential epidemiologic study," said R. William Field, Ph.D., UI research scientist in epidemiology and lead author of the journal article. "Most previous studies have focused on only one or two radon measurements in a home to determine a person's radon exposure. We linked where the study participants spent their time over the past 20 years with the radon concentrations gathered from inside and outside the home and came up with a more accurate measurement of exposure."

Previous studies have shown that Iowa has the highest average radon concentrations in the United States. Radon -- a naturally occurring odorless, tasteless and colorless radioactive gas -- is produced by the breakdown of radium in soil, rock and water. The high concentrations in Iowa and the upper Midwest are due primarily to glacial deposits that occurred more than 10,000 years ago, Field noted.

"Many homes and other buildings, such as schools and offices, have high radon concentrations," Field said. "Our research provides direct evidence that residential radon exposure is tied to an increased risk for lung cancer."

The best way to reduce overall exposure to radon is to test homes and take steps to reduce elevated indoor radon concentrations. Information on radon testing and mitigation is available toll-free from the EPA by calling (800) SOS-RADON or by visiting the EPA Web site at http://www.epa.gov/iaq/radon/. Additional information about the study is available at the following Web site: http://www.cheec.uiowa.edu/misc/radon.html.

The American Journal of Epidemiology is the premier scientific journal devoted to the publication of empirical research findings and methodologic developments in the field of epidemiologic research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Iowa. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Iowa. "Study Finds Residential Radon Exposure Poses A Significant Lung Cancer Risk." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 May 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/05/000526070929.htm>.
University Of Iowa. (2000, May 26). Study Finds Residential Radon Exposure Poses A Significant Lung Cancer Risk. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/05/000526070929.htm
University Of Iowa. "Study Finds Residential Radon Exposure Poses A Significant Lung Cancer Risk." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/05/000526070929.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

Reuters - US Online Video (July 31, 2014) The Republican-led House of Representatives votes to sue President Obama, accusing him of overstepping his executive authority in making changes to the Affordable Care Act. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Newsy (July 31, 2014) Citing 81 previous studies, new research out of London suggests the benefits of smoking e-cigarettes instead of regular ones outweighs the risks. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins