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Old 09-14-2012, 12:00 PM   #1
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Radon


Hello, All,

I'd like to start a thread on the topic of Radon and Radon Testing. So, please chime in any time!

Thanks to all.


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Old 09-15-2012, 10:40 AM   #2
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OK, as this is one of my pet peeves. I worked for more than 30 years in the nuclear power industry so I know a bit about the subject. I can say without reservation that residential radon mitigation is a total scam and a waste of money. There are many, many other things in the environment that are far more likely to cause you harm before radon ever does.

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Old 09-15-2012, 11:50 AM   #3
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I second that. With a few possible exceptions (see the Pennsylvania incidence), residential radon mitigation is a multimillion dollar scam, and if I may add, an all American scam.
I have met people worrying about a few tens of pCi radon exposure over a cigaret...
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Old 09-15-2012, 12:32 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oodssoo View Post
Hello, All,

I'd like to start a thread on the topic of Radon and Radon Testing. So, please chime in any time!

Thanks to all.

Waste of money, non necessity in 99.99% of the country. Basically if you do not live in a Uranium mine, or Granite quarry, you are wasting money.
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Old 09-17-2012, 01:03 PM   #5
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I have been in the radiation protection field for over 30 years, including the last 5 years working on radon issues specifically.

I can assure you that radon is indeed a real problem. In Canada a recent study based on a residential radon survey covering the entire country indicates that approximately 1 in 6 lung cancer deaths is attributable to radon. That's about 3300 such deaths per year. This is second only to smoking. And in fact, radon when combined with smoking significantly increases the lung cancer incidence. Approximately 90% of the lung cancer deaths attributable to radon occur among smokers, even though smokers represent much less than 90% of the population.

Testing for radon, mitigating any high levels found, and building any new homes using radon resistant construction techniques are all critical to reducing this death rate.
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Old 09-17-2012, 08:41 PM   #6
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In Canada a recent study based on a residential radon survey covering the entire country indicates that approximately 1 in 6 lung cancer deaths is attributable to radon.
I'm curious how they attribute lung cancer to radon in studies. Let's say you have a group of patients with lung cancer, it would be fairly easy to get reliable data on their smoking habits, but how do you get reliable data on their radon exposure throughout a lifetime?
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Old 09-17-2012, 08:48 PM   #7
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lvdiy, Brian just copied the same garbage that American Lung has been putting out, with nothing to back it up. They are using the Chicken Little effect to scare people into spending money on something they do not need to be putting it towards. There are more important things that they should be putting money towards, such as making the structure sound & safe, not on Snake Oil.
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Old 09-17-2012, 09:40 PM   #8
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It really sounds like smoking is the bigger issue here when it comes to lung cancer. I also found something interesting on passive smoking vs radon when it comes to non smokers with lung cancer:

A study[110] from 2001, which included 436 cases (never smokers who had lung cancer), and a control group (1649 never smokers) showed that exposure to radon increased the risk of lung cancer in never smokers. But the group that had been exposed to passive smoking at home appeared to bear the entire risk increase, while those who were not exposed to passive smoking did not show any increased risk with increasing radon level.
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Old 09-17-2012, 10:39 PM   #9
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I beg to differ.
Cancer is a multifactorial disease, and the human habitat is equally very diverse. Stating that residential radon exposure can cause lung cancer is an oversimplified statement.

Some epidemiological facts: Most of Europe and Russian Federation have much higher radon levels (200-300% or higher) when compared to the US. Whether they are heavy smokers? Yes, in average, they smoke more than people in the States; both men and women. Yet lung cancer in Northern America is more than three times higher in women, and only slightly lower in men.

One might say it is because Europeans built with concrete, and because they do not utilize basements as living spaces (where Americans usually lock the wife, hence higher cancer in women). Then, I would like to see, for example, a study showing that people living in homes with basements have higher lung cancer rates than those living on a concrete slab or in high-rises. And likewise, one would expect that deep-mine miners would have higher lung cancer incidence due to occupational underground radon exposure, which can be very elevated in caves. However, it has been known for some time that lung cancer rates are not higher in miners. In fact, there are studies reporting that miners enjoy some short of cancer “immunity” due to pneumoconiasis…

I am not implying that chronic radon exposure at any rate is harmless, but portraying radon as a major threat to the American family is like saying “buy this disinfectant to kill the microbes around the house so that your kids stay safe”. I am just saying that Epidemiology can be a very accommodating field of “science”.

Ps. The Canadian study (is the one by Health Canada?) is not a peer-reviewed study and radon was only measured between 2007-2009, which is too short and data should not have been released.
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Old 09-18-2012, 09:36 AM   #10
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Studies of underground miners have shown elevated lung cancer rates associated with radon exposure. Two examples:

http://journals.lww.com/health-physi..._Miners.1.aspx

http://rpd.oxfordjournals.org/content/104/4/315.short

And there is in fact a radon dosimetry method using glass objects which can measure relatively long term doses:

http://www.cityu.edu.hk/ap/nru/pub_j189.pdf

Perhaps you should actually back up your statements.
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Old 09-18-2012, 10:54 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Brian R. Gaulke View Post
Studies of underground miners have shown elevated lung cancer rates associated with radon exposure. Two examples:

http://journals.lww.com/health-physi..._Miners.1.aspx

http://rpd.oxfordjournals.org/content/104/4/315.short

And there is in fact a radon dosimetry method using glass objects which can measure relatively long term doses:

http://www.cityu.edu.hk/ap/nru/pub_j189.pdf

Perhaps you should actually back up your statements.
Well....considering that your current employment status is based on mitigating Radon issues....I'm inclined to believe you might be slightly biased.

Yes....Radon can cause lung cancer....

But, if you read 'all' of the information available, it starts to become obvious that the number of deaths attributed to Radon is a moving target.

As correctly pointed out in one study, there can be multiple causes of lung cancer for an individual...or basically, additive....

It should also be pointed out that Asbestos still causes more cases of lung cancer....

And....because of the differing biology's of individuals...a radon level that might cause cancer in one person would have no effect on another...

At the end of the day....I think the issue of Radon is just another reason to spend more time outside with your kids where you will be exposed to dangerous levels of radiation from the sun.
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Old 09-18-2012, 11:06 AM   #12
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So you're saying that because there are other causes of cancer, and in particular, other causes which cause more cancer than radon, that it's silly to do something about radon? And because we can't nail down a precise number of deaths attributable to radon, but are still changing the number as we learn more, that we shouldn't worry about radon?

Incidentally, we do recognize that lung cancer can have more than one cause. In fact, we recognize that one very good way to reduce lung cancer deaths attributable to radon is to get people to quit smoking, due to the synergism between the two causal agents.
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Old 09-18-2012, 12:05 PM   #13
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"These estimates should be interpreted
with caution, because concomitant exposures of miners to
agents such as arsenic or diesel exhaust may modify the
radon effect and, when considered together with other differences
between homes and mines, might reduce the
generalizability of findings in miners.
[J Natl Cancer Inst 87:817-827,1995]

It's a free world. Go ahead and mitigate even traces of radon or kill all germs in your home or get into a space suit when facing mold. But don't let them built their business on your fears, and I think the industry very often scares the public.

Then, I might be wrong...Your thoughts?
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Old 09-18-2012, 12:15 PM   #14
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My interest is in getting people to test their homes, and if the levels are high, to have something done about it. "Even traces of radon" doesn't figure in that, unless you consider radon levels high enough to cause statistically significant elevations in lung cancer rates to be traces. And my work has nothing to do with germs, mold, or any other issue, although I do recognize that mold and some chemical contaminants can be important health issues.

As for what the industry does, there isn't much of an industry yet in Canada, but I'm sure that there are unscrupulous individuals in the much larger industry in the US, just as there are in many other industries. They have an obvious interest in convincing people they need mitigation work done. But that certainly doesn't mean that everyone in the industry is unscrupulous.
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Old 09-18-2012, 10:16 PM   #15
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I still don't understand the lung cancer statistics. If 90% of the lung cancer victims attributed to radon were also smokers, how come smoking isn't the cause? Then when you consider the other study I referenced earlier which suggest the increased risk among non smokers was only significant among people exposed to passive smoking, it seems like smoking is the most logical cause, and not radon.

I'm not discounting radon as not having an effect on people, but I think the dangers are extremely overstated when it comes to residential radon exposure.

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