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Radiat Environ Biophys. 1999 Sep;38(3):211-5.

Childhood cancer and residential radon exposure - results of a population-based case-control study in Lower Saxony (Germany).

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Institut für Medizinische Statistik und Dokumentation, Johannes-Gutenberg-Universität, D-55101 Mainz, Germany.


A population-based case-control study on risk factors for childhood malignancies was used to investigate a previously reported association between elevated indoor radon concentrations and childhood cancer, with special regard to leukaemia. The patients were all children suffering from leukaemia and common solid tumours (nephroblastoma, neuroblastoma, rhabdomyosarcoma, central nervous system (CNS) tumours) diagnosed between July 1988 and June 1993 in Lower Saxony (Germany) and aged less than 15 years. Two population-based control groups were matched by age and gender to the leukaemia patients. Long-term (1 year) radon measurements were performed in those homes where the children had been living for at least 1 year, with particular attention being paid to those rooms where they had stayed most of the time. Due to the sequential study design, radon measurements in these rooms could only be done for 36% (82 leukaemias, 82 solid tumours and 209 controls) of the 1038 families initially contacted. Overall mean indoor radon concentrations (27 Bq m(-3)) were low compared with the measured levels in other studies. Using a prespecified cutpoint of 70 Bq m(-3), no association with indoor radon concentrations was seen for the leukaemias (odds ratio (OR): 1.30; 95% confidence interval (95% CI): 0.32-5.33); however, the risk estimates were elevated for the solid tumours (OR: 2.61; 95% CI: 0.96-7.13), mainly based on 6 CNS tumours. We did not find any evidence for an association between indoor radon and childhood leukaemia, which is in line with a recently published American case-control study. There is little support for an association with CNS tumours in the literature.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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