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Article
August 4, 1989

Lung Cancer Mortality Among Nonsmoking Uranium Miners Exposed to Radon Daughters

Author Affiliations

From the Industrywide Studies Branch, Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Cincinnati, Ohio (Mr Roscoe and Dr Steenland); the Epidemiology Branch, Division of Injury Epidemiology and Control, Center for Environmental Health and Injury Control, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, Ga (Dr Waxweiler); Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Mass (Dr Halperin); and the Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, University of California at Davis (Dr Beaumont).

From the Industrywide Studies Branch, Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Cincinnati, Ohio (Mr Roscoe and Dr Steenland); the Epidemiology Branch, Division of Injury Epidemiology and Control, Center for Environmental Health and Injury Control, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, Ga (Dr Waxweiler); Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Mass (Dr Halperin); and the Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, University of California at Davis (Dr Beaumont).

JAMA. 1989;262(5):629-633. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03430050045024
Abstract

Radon daughters, both in the workplace and in the household, are a continuing cause for concern because of the well-documented association between exposure to radon daughters and lung cancer. To estimate the risk of lung cancer mortality among nonsmokers exposed to varying levels of radon daughters, 516 white men who never smoked cigarettes, pipes, or cigars were selected from the US Public Health Service cohort of Colorado Plateau uranium miners and followed up from 1950 through 1984. Age-specific mortality rates for nonsmokers from a study of US veterans were used for comparison. Fourteen deaths from lung cancer were observed among the nonsmoking miners, while 1.1 deaths were expected, yielding a standardized mortality ratio of 12.7 with 95% confidence limits of 8.0 and 20.1. These results confirm that exposure to radon daughters in the absence of cigarette smoking is a potent carcinogen that should be strictly controlled.

(JAMA. 1989;262:629-633)

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