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Environ Res. 2012 Oct;118:130-6. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2012.05.012. Epub 2012 Jun 27.

Residential radon and lung cancer incidence in a Danish cohort.

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Diet, Genes and Environment, Danish Cancer Society Research Centre, Copenhagen, Denmark.


High-level occupational radon exposure is an established risk factor for lung cancer. We assessed the long-term association between residential radon and lung cancer risk using a prospective Danish cohort using 57,053 persons recruited during 1993-1997. We followed each cohort member for cancer occurrence until 27 June 2006, identifying 589 lung cancer cases. We traced residential addresses from 1 January 1971 until 27 June 2006 and calculated radon at each of these addresses using information from central databases regarding geology and house construction. Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate incidence rate ratios (IRR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for lung cancer risk associated with residential radon exposure with and without adjustment for sex, smoking variables, education, socio-economic status, occupation, body mass index, air pollution and consumption of fruit and alcohol. Potential effect modification by sex, traffic-related air pollution and environmental tobacco smoke was assessed. Median estimated radon was 35.8 Bq/m(3). The adjusted IRR for lung cancer was 1.04 (95% CI: 0.69-1.56) in association with a 100 Bq/m(3) higher radon concentration and 1.67 (95% CI: 0.69-4.04) among non-smokers. We found no evidence of effect modification. We find a positive association between radon and lung cancer risk consistent with previous studies but the role of chance cannot be excluded as these associations were not statistically significant. Our results provide valuable information at the low-level radon dose range.

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