[ RadSafe ] radon and other carcinogens in mine air

Dan McCarn hotgreenchile at gmail.com
Sun Mar 4 20:06:38 CST 2012

Thank you, Mark!  Good summary!  Dan ii

On Sun, Mar 4, 2012 at 5:43 PM, Mark Sonter <sontermj at tpg.com.au> wrote:

> Hi All,
> I think everyone will readily accept the carcinogenicity of radon
> daughters at high concentrations in underground mines. The lung cancer rate
> went to something like twenty-fold normal in the very ill-ventilated
> underground U mines of Colorado and Utah in the 1960s (miners' individual
> cumulative exposures of 20,000 CWLM or so average??)
> Doubling Dose has for a generation now been thought to be 100 to 200 CWLM.
>  But this is a 'movable goalpost', because the smoking experience of the
> workforce is changing rapidly, and thus the baseline lung cancer rate is
> dropping...
> But, I remember Al Dory late of AECB in a Radiation in Uranium Mining
> Conference in Golden Colorado in 1981 (!!) getting exasperated with overly
> exact quantification of the radon (daughter) risk while we were still
> blithely ignorant of the size of the confounding factors represented by
> miner exposure to arsenic, asbestos, silica, nickel and PAHs (carcinogens
> all)....
> My biggest worries during my operational days were airborne Respirable
> Free Silica, and the 'how the hell do I get a handle on the diesel soot
> /REC / PAH / benz a pyrene story??', not radon (daughters), which were at
> least dead easy to to measure (thanks to Howard Kusnetz, Robert Rolle, and
> Tom Borak).  Then in a later corporate role, my worry-driver was the
> discovery of widespread adventitious fibrous silicates (chrysotile,
> 'amosite', etc) in underground nickel mines. No crocidolite thank God...
> I just think the epidemiology studies that purport to give radon daughter
> exposure-effect relationship are inevitably biassed, given that we do not
> have good dose data on these confounders.
> Mark Sonter
> Radiation Advice & Solutions Pty Ltd,   abn 31 891 761 435
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