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Risk Anal. 1992 Dec;12(4):483-93.

Modeling the modification of the risk of radon-induced lung cancer by environmental tobacco smoke.

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Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 27599-7400.


The presence of environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) in homes has been implicated in the causation of lung cancer. While of interest in its own right, ETS also influences the risk imposed by radon and its decay products. The interaction between radon progeny and ETS alters the exposure, intake, uptake, biokinetics, dosimetry, and radiobiology of those progeny. The present paper details model predictions of the various influences of ETS on these factors in the U.S. population and provides estimates of the resulting change in the risk from average levels of radon progeny. It is predicted that the presence of ETS produces a very small (perhaps unmeasurable) increase in the risk of radiation-induced tracheobronchial cancer in homes with initially very high particle concentrations for both active and never-smokers, but significantly lowers the risk in homes with initially lower particle concentrations for both groups when generation 4 of the lung is considered the target site. For generation 16, the presence of ETS generally increases the radon-induced risk of lung cancer, although the increase should be unmeasurable at high initial particle concentrations. The net effect of ETS on human health is suggested to be a complicated function of the initial housing conditions, the concentration of particles introduced by smoking, the target generation considered, and the smoking status of exposed populations. This situation precludes any simple statements concerning the role of ETS in governing the incidence of lung cancer in a population.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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