The facts about radon
A study published in 2005 (no. 1, below) of 13 EU countries, funded by Cancer Research UK and the European Commission clearly demonstrated that radon in the home increases the risk of lung cancer. The UK Health Security agency commissioned an independent report published in 2009 (no.2, below), which estimated that radon is a cause in over 1,100 lung cancer deaths each year in the UK. In the same year, the World Health Organisation published a handbook on radon (No. 3, below) which stated that the epidemiological evidence was clear – indoor radon exposure is responsible for a substantial number of lung cancers in the general population. The WHO also restated that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking.
- Radon increases your risk of lung cancer.
- The higher the radon, the longer the exposure, the greater the risk.
- Radon causes over 1,100 deaths from lung cancer each year in the UK.
- The risk from radon is higher if the person is an ex-smoker and significantly greater for current smokers.
How can I reduce my risk?
- Find out if you live in a radon risk area.
- If you do, measure your home.
- If the radon is high, reduce it.
- If you smoke, consider giving it up, particularly if you live in an area with raised radon concentrations.
1. Radon in homes and risk of lung cancer
Collaborative analysis of individual data from 13 European case-control studies.
BMJ, 330, 223-237. 2005
2. Radon and Public Health
Report of an independent Advisory Group on Ionising Radiation.
Chilton, Docs RCE 11, PHE 2009.
3. WHO Handbook on indoor radon: a public health perspective
The World Health Organisation, 2009.