[ RadSafe ] Radon: POWERFULLY associated with LESS lung cancer by B.Cohen

Howard howard.long at comcast.net
Thu Jun 16 10:29:55 CDT 2011

Chris, your "APPARENT inverse relationship between lung cancer mortality and average radon concentrations" (emphasis added), disqualifies you as a serious critic of this most powerful epidemiologic study.

I and many others have tried to torture out of Prof. Cohen (at meetings of Doctors for Disaster Preparedness and here, on line) a spurious "garbage in" explanation. Analyses assuming a hundred potential social skews results in the same: POWERFUL association in all stable USA
county populations, with and without smoking and 100 other potential skewers.

I just took out of my wallet a cc of Cohen's graphs with bars of 95% significance used as points!
The "corrected for smoking" graph seems identical to the total graph, bpth showing 
mortality just 2/3 at the 4 Bq/meter-cubed level touted as dangerous, as at 1/4 that exposure.
This is evidence for hormesis, not "apparent", but as definite as epidemiology can give.
LNT seems disproven by this (all Cohen will claim).

Politics should follow science, not vice versa (I like this use of the word "vice").

Howard Long MD MPH Family Doctor and Epidemiologist

On Jun 16, 2011, at 6:22 AM, "Chris Hofmeyr" <chris.hofmeyr at webmail.co.za> wrote:

> Dear Proff Raabe and Cohen, Radsafers,
> Prof Cohen's US-wide county-based radon studies caused quite a stir since 1995,
> mainly because of the apparent inverse relationship between lung cancer
> mortality and average radon concentrations. However, Cohen's main conclusion
> was that the result was at variance with the linear-no threshold (LNT) model.
> My own analysis of the data sets for two periods kindly provided by Prof Cohen
> showed adamantly that there was in fact NO indication of a dependence on
> average radon concentration up to the maximum recorded. Such a finding would
> concur with Raabe's model of protracted low-intensity exposure (HPJ, July
> 2011).  Human lifespan is too short to show discernible lung cancer induction
> from domestic radon concentrations in the USA. 
> However, uncertainty remains with respect to the question of the apparent
> inverse relationship in Cohen's data between lung cancer mortality rates and
> average county radon concentration, which some people wanted to interpret as
> proof of hormesis. Significantly, in a 2006 paper on cancer risk from low level
> radiation, Cohen did not cite his own radon data in support of hormesis or even
> rejection of LNT.  In Cohen's data average county radon concentration was to
> some degree anti-correlated with smoking prevalence, thus explaining the
> inverse relationship in the uncorrected (for smoking) data. The smoking
> correction to the data was consequently important for the 'real' dependence
> curve. Unfortunately it was not possible to analyse the correctness of the
> smoking correction, nor associated uncertainties, but I became convinced that
> Cohen was not able to correct the data adequately for smoking, possibly
> resulting in the persistent apparent inverse dependence of the 'corrected'
> data.
> A stark illustration of the overwhelming importance of extraneous factors -
> most probably smoking - is to compare the female lung cancer data sets 1970-79
> with 1979-94. There was a mortality increase of almost a factor of 2, whereas
> male lung cancer declined very slightly between the two data sets (during
> 1970-79 it was about a factor of 5 higher than the female figure).
> Regards.
> Chris Hofmeyr
> chris.hofmeyr at webmail.co.za
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