[ RadSafe ] Radon hormesis suggested by a careful case-control study

Brennan, Mike (DOH) Mike.Brennan at DOH.WA.GOV
Fri Feb 22 18:01:47 CST 2008

It will be interesting to see how this plays out.  Assuming that these
results can be reproduced (and I am not expressing doubt that they can)
and this becomes the dominant paradigm, the EPA has some mindset
adjustment to do.  250 Bq/m3 is 6.75 pCi/l for those of us in backward,
non-metric countries, so there isn't a lot of adjustment to move the
"action level" up from 4 pCi/l.  However, recognizing that LNT doesn't
work for radon will open the question of what else it doesn't work for.
A lot of risk projections that were done with graph paper and a straight
edge might have to be redone in the field and laboratory.

As that great American philosopher, Arte Johnson, would so eloquently
put it, "Verrry interesting". 

-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl [mailto:radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl] On
Behalf Of Otto G. Raabe
Sent: Friday, February 22, 2008 2:15 PM
To: Bernard L. Cohen; radsafe at radlab.nl
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Radon hormesis suggested by a careful case-control

February 22, 2008

A new case control study of radon in homes shows that lung cancer
adjusted odds ratio (relative risk) goes DOWN markedly as radon
concentration goes UP from 25 Bq/m3 to 250 Bq/m3. Only for radon
concentrations well above 250 Bq/m3 does the risk begin to rise (R.E. 
Thompson, D.F. Nelson, J.H. Popkin, Z. Popkin, "Case-Control Study of
Lung Cancer Risk from Residential Radon Exposure in Worcester County,
Massachusetts, Health Physics 94: 228-241, March 2008).

In addition, the downward slope in risk that was observed in this new
study seems to overlay almost perfectly the lung cancer mortality
reduction slope shown by Bernard Cohen in his 1995 Health Physics paper
(B.L. Cohen, "Test of the Linear-No Threshold Theory of Radation
Carcinogensis for Inhaled Radon Decay Products". Health Physics 68.
157-174, 1995).

The authors of this new paper explain quite well the reasons that caused
previous case-control studies to obscure this phenomena.

Dr. Cohen, a letter to the editor of Health Physics quantitatively
contrasting your previous results with those in this new study would
probably be well received.


Prof. Otto G. Raabe, Ph.D., CHP
Center for Health & the Environment
University of California
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
E-Mail: ograabe at ucdavis.edu
Phone: (530) 752-7754   FAX: (530) 758-6140
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