[ RadSafe ] RadSafe Digest, Vol 338, Issue 1

Brennan, Mike (DOH) Mike.Brennan at DOH.WA.GOV
Fri Jul 2 11:21:53 CDT 2010

Hi, Jack.  

I understand your position, and I think that there are some in the radon
community who oversell the risks, believing that getting people to take
action justifies panicking them (a belief I do not share).  I have,
however, given a fair amount of thought to the smoking/radon connection,
and I while I don't have huge confidence in the exact percentages and
numbers, I can agree with the sense of the statement.  

To use your analogy, I think we can all agree that operator error
(excessive speed, distracted or impaired driving, etc.) is the main
factor in many (most?) accidents.  However, I don't think that this
would be a sound reason for saying, "So it doesn't matter if your tires
are bald or your windshield wipers work; it's the driver who causes

I would submit that there are a fair number of times when the difference
between an accident happening or being narrowly avoided is the state of
vehicle's repair.  This is true whether the driver is a slightly drunk
teenage boy taking corners too fast or, say, you or me.  I would even go
so far as to say that the worse the tires are, the more likely an
accident is across all driver conditions, with a greater than additive
increase in risk as both the driver and tires get worse.  This is kind
of what is seen in the relationship between smoking and radon.  

I think that if people are concerned about radon the first thing they
should do is stop smoking.  If they already don't smoke; great!  Testing
for radon and mitigating if it is elevated is a good next step.  

And they should check the tread on their tires.


-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu
[mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] On Behalf Of Earley, Jack N
Sent: Monday, June 28, 2010 7:54 AM
To: radsafe at agni.phys.iit.edu
Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] RadSafe Digest, Vol 338, Issue 1

Still incredible to me:

"About 60 per cent of radon-related deaths occur in smokers, 30 per cent
among former smokers and 10 per cent among people who never smoked,
estimates the Quebec Department of Health and Social Services. "Like
most everybody, I was surrounded by smokers in my childhood," Marie
Bedard told The Gazette. "But since I'm allergic to smoke, I always kept
my distance."

Ninety percent of the fatalities are related to smoking, but they still
focus on the radon. It's like blaming wrecks on the weather instead of
on the excessive speed or lack of control by the people who were driving
at the time (how many times have you read "the weather was responsible
for x number of traffic fatalities"?). You'd think that after this many
years, I'd be used to the stupidity. I think there's a definition of
insanity I should be reviewing-I must be expecting a different outcome
from the same old programs people keep running.

Jack Earley
Sr. Health Physicist

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