Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1988;14(5):286-292    pdf

doi:10.5271/sjweh.1918

Indoor radon exposure and active and passive smoking in relation to the occurrence of lung cancer.

by Axelson O, Andersson K, Desai G, Fagerlund I, Jansson B, Karlsson C, Wingren G

Exposure to indoor radon and radon daughters is currently attracting great interest as a possible cause of lung cancer. This concern is supported by several studies, most of them relatively small in numbers or weak in the assessment of exposure. This study encompasses 177 persons with lung cancer and 677 noncancer referents, all deceased and with 30 years or more of residency in the same house in an area with radon-leaking alum shale deposits in the central part of southern Sweden. Exposure categories based on building material, type of house, and ground conditions were created, but measurements of the indoor radon daughter concentration were also made for 142 cases and 264 referents. Active and passive smoking was ascertained through questionnaires sent to the next-of-kin. Overall, the lung cancer risk was approximately twofold with regard to the categories of assumed radon daughter exposure for the rural sector of the population but not for the same categories of the urban sector, possibly because of less precise exposure assessment and influence from other factors. Occasional and passive smokers, as well as passive smokers alone, had a particularly increased risk of lung cancer in association with the increased exposure categories.