The Journal of the National Cancer Institute reports that a study of nonsmokers in Missouri found no link between household radon gas levels and lung cancer.
In the study published Wednesday, researchers compared the radon exposure of 538 nonsmoking Missouri women who have lung cancer with the radon exposure of 1,183 matched subjects who did not have cancer."An association between lung cancer and the exposure to domestic levels of radon was not convincingly demonstrated," the researchers concluded. "The magnitude of the lung cancer risk from radon levels commonly found in U.S. dwellings appears low."
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that has been identified as a lung cancer risk in studies of miners who worked where radon gas concentrations were high. Based on the experiences of miners, some experts have estimated that natural radon accumulating in houses could cause about 15,000 lung cancer deaths per year. The Environmental Protection Agency is promoting a national program calling for reduction of residential radon.
However, researchers for years have been unable to prove that residential radon actually poses a lung cancer risk.