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Radiat Prot Dosimetry. 2008;132(2):175-81. doi: 10.1093/rpd/ncn288. Epub 2008 Nov 14.

Indoor radon and childhood leukaemia.

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  • 1Institute of Cancer Epidemiology, Danish Cancer Society, Strandboulevarden 49, 2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark. ole@cancer.dk

Abstract

This paper summarises the epidemiological literature on domestic exposure to radon and risk for childhood leukaemia. The results of 12 ecological studies show a consistent pattern of higher incidence and mortality rates for childhood leukaemia in areas with higher average indoor radon concentrations. Although the results of such studies are useful to generate hypotheses, they must be interpreted with caution, as the data were aggregated and analysed for geographical areas and not for individuals. The seven available case-control studies of childhood leukaemia with measurement of radon concentrations in the residences of cases and controls gave mixed results, however, with some indication of a weak (relative risk < 2) association with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. The epidemiological evidence to date suggests that an association between indoor exposure to radon and childhood leukaemia might exist, but is weak. More case-control studies are needed, with sufficient statistical power to detect weak associations and based on designs and methods that minimise misclassification of exposure and provide a high participation rate and low potential selection bias.

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