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Epidemiology. 2001 Jul;12(4):396-404.

Residential radon and lung cancer among never-smokers in Sweden.

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Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.


In this study, we attempted to reduce existing uncertainty about the relative risk of lung cancer from residential radon exposure among never-smokers. Comprehensive measurements of domestic radon were performed for 258 never-smoking lung cancer cases and 487 never-smoking controls from five Swedish case-control studies. With additional never-smokers from a previous case-control study of lung cancer and residential radon exposure in Sweden, a total of 436 never-smoking lung cancer cases diagnosed in Sweden between 1980 and 1995 and 1,649 never-smoking controls were included. The relative risks (with 95% confidence intervals in parentheses) of lung cancer in relation to categories of time-weighted average domestic radon concentration during three decades, delimited by cutpoints at 50, 80, and 140 Bq m(-3), were 1.08 (0.8--1.5), 1.18 (0.9--1.6), and 1.44 (1.0--2.1), respectively, with average radon concentrations below 50 Bq m(-3) used as reference category and with adjustment for other risk factors. The data suggested that among never-smokers residential radon exposure may be more harmful for those exposed to environmental tobacco smoke. Overall, an excess relative risk of 10% per 100 Bq m(-3) average radon concentration was estimated, which is similar to the summary effect estimate for all subjects in the main residential radon studies to date.

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