Chemical-Biological Interactions with RadonAuthor(s): Bejeman Hay
The national academy of sciences (USA) looked at the harmful effects of radon on human health (BEIR VI). This well-written, thoroughly researched study had an impact on radon remediation regulations. This article highlights three of the problems with the report's interpretation at home. First, the majority of the radiation dosage required to assess risk was delivered by homes with radon levels below US regulations. The environmental protection agency’s action level was created to ensure that remediation would have little impact on the total estimated attributable risk as a result, after being fixed; the low level homes (i.e. those below the action level) would only have a minor effect. Effect on the assigned risk to the population estimate Remediation may only marginally reduce each person’s risk in particular homes with particularly high radon levels. Second, it was not a fair appraisal of the findings to say to the public, elected officials and legislators that “next to cigarette smoking, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer.” The proper statement would be: Smoking paired with high radon levels is the second leading cause of lung cancer, after smoking. Few malignancies in nonsmokers could be attributed to radon. Thirdly, there is little doubt that excessive lung cancer is caused by radon exposure at high levels, along with cigarette smoke and other severe insults in the mining environment.