Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Radon: Second Leading Cause Of Lung Cancer, European Study Confirms

Date:
September 30, 2009
Source:
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology
Summary:
Exposure to radon gas in homes is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking, according to a study carried out by researchers in Spain And Romania. The team has studied data on exposure to this element in a uranium mining area in Transylvania and in an area of granite in Torrelodones, Madrid.

Exposure to radon gas in homes is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking, according to a study carried out by researchers from the University of Cantabria and the Babes-Bolyai University in Romania. The team has studied data on exposure to this element in a uranium mining area in Transylvania and in an area of granite in Torrelodones, Madrid.

Numerous studies worldwide have shown that radon, a natural radioactive gas that seeps into homes in some regions, is the second leading factor (after smoking) in causing people to develop lung cancer. This has now also been confirmed by a study carried out in Torrelodones, Madrid, and Stei, in Romania, by researchers from the University of Cantabria and the Romanian Babes-Bolyai University, and which has been published recently in the journal Science of the Total Environment.

The authors estimated the death rate due to lung cancer attributable to radon and smoking in the areas studied between 1994 and 2006, using population data from the National Statistics Institute (INE), and data on radon exposure conditions and related risks taken from European epidemiological studies. The result was double that which would have been expected based on a relative risk report produced in 2006 for the whole of Europe on cancer incidence and mortality.

"The study shows that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer, after smoking, as has also been shown by many other studies carried out over the years in various parts of the world", Carlos Sainz, co-author of the study and a researcher for the Ionizing Radiation Group at the University of Cantabria, tells SINC.

In order to carry out their study, the authors used detectors to measure radon levels in 91 homes in the town over several months, as well as asking residents about their habits, such as whether or not they were smokers. The data were processed using a complex IT programme (European Community Radon Software), and the lung cancer death rate expectancy based estimated were made based on the INE data and various European reports.

WHO reduces recommended radon limits

The World Health Organisation (WHO) had previously recommended not exceeding 1.000 becquerels (Bq – the unit used to measure radioactive activity) of radon per cubic metre inside homes. However, last week, the WHO released a guide on this subject, in which it sets a new limit of 100 Bq/m3. The Torrelodones study shows that radon in more than half of the homes there is in excess of this amount.

Sainz points out that radon is a colourless, odourless and tasteless gas generated by the decay of uranium-238 (a natural radioactive element present in all rocks and soil in varying degrees). "It is much more abundant in granite areas, such as Torrelodones and other areas in the west of the Iberian Peninsula, such as parts of Galicia, Salamanca and Cαceres", explains the expert.

The study also analysed radon levels in Stei, an area in Transylvania, Romania, where there are old uranium mines, and where the incidence of lung cancer has been shown to be 116.82% higher than estimates. Radon levels of up to 2,650 Bq/m3 have been recorded in some homes.

Ventilation and barriers against radon

Radon gas is emitted by the subsoil and seeps into houses – to a greater or lesser degree depending upon the permeability of the ground – through the pores and cracks in garages and basements. This radioactive element accumulates to a greater extent in single family homes and ground floor flats than in those located higher up in apartment blocks.

In order to address the problem, in addition to regularly checking levels of this gas, the experts suggest ventilating cellars and basements with extractor fans (opening windows alone may not be sufficient, depending on the levels of the gas). The construction of architectural barriers that are impermeable to radon is also recommended, above all in newly-built houses.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. C. Sainz, A. Dinu, T. Dicu, K. Szacsvai, C. Cosma, L.S. Quindσs. Comparative risk assessment of residential radon exposures in two radon-prone areas, Ştei (Romania) and Torrelodones (Spain). Science of The Total Environment, 2009; 407 (15): 4452 DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2009.04.033

Cite This Page:

FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology. "Radon: Second Leading Cause Of Lung Cancer, European Study Confirms." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 September 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090930102525.htm>.
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology. (2009, September 30). Radon: Second Leading Cause Of Lung Cancer, European Study Confirms. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090930102525.htm
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology. "Radon: Second Leading Cause Of Lung Cancer, European Study Confirms." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090930102525.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) — Liberia's finance minister is urging the international community to quickly follow through on pledges of cash to battle Ebola. Bodies are piling up in the capital Monrovia as the nation awaits more help. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) — A Florida doctor who helped fight the expanding Ebola outbreak in West Africa says the disease can be stopped, but only if nations quickly step up their response and make border control a priority. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Newsy (Sep. 21, 2014) — More than 100 tons of medical supplies were sent to West Africa on Saturday, but aid workers say the global response is still sluggish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) — Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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