Radon and Childhood Cancer
The Relationship Between Indoor
Radon Exposure and Leukemia
Radon
 A naturally occurring radioactive gas
 Colorless, odorless, and tasteless
 Radon undergoes radioactive decay,
hi...
Exposure to Radon and Radon Progeny
 Air – radioactive particulates can deposit in
your lungs
 In indoor locations (home...
Radon in the Human Body
 Most of the inhaled radon gas is breathed out again
 Some of the radon progeny, may remain in t...
Radon Exposure and Leukemia
 Leukemia is the most common cancer in children
 Interferes with the body’s production of bl...
Radon Exposure and Leukemia
Studies
 Epidemiological studies indicate that increased domestic radon levels are associated...
References
 Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, Introducing the Radon Progeny (formerly called
Radon Daughters...
References
 University of Maryland, Environmental Safety, Retrieved on November 8, 2009 from
www.des.umd.edu/pics/rs/inta...
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Radon and Childhood Cancer

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Radon and Childhood Cancer

  1. 1. Radon and Childhood Cancer The Relationship Between Indoor Radon Exposure and Leukemia
  2. 2. Radon  A naturally occurring radioactive gas  Colorless, odorless, and tasteless  Radon undergoes radioactive decay, high-energy alpha particle emissions, which are the source of health concerns  Radon is a known human carcinogen  Second leading cause of lung cancer, with cigarette smoking being the leading cause  Controversial relationship between Indoor Radon Exposure and Leukemia Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility (1996) Radon and Radon Progeny
  3. 3. Exposure to Radon and Radon Progeny  Air – radioactive particulates can deposit in your lungs  In indoor locations (homes, schools, office buildings), levels of Radon and Radon Progeny are generally higher than outdoor levels, especially in new, energy-efficient constructions  Canadian guideline (Health Canada) for indoor radon is 200 becquerels per cubic meter (200 Bq/m³)  Water – groundwater or drinking water from wells that contain radon  It is estimated that 1/1000th of the radon in water may become airborne during indoor water use Physics and Astronomy – The University of Maine Radon in Water and Air
  4. 4. Radon in the Human Body  Most of the inhaled radon gas is breathed out again  Some of the radon progeny, may remain in the lungs and undergo radioactive decay. The radiation (alpha radiation) released during this process passes into lung tissues and can cause lung damage.  Ingested radon from drinking water passes through the walls of the stomach and intestine (GI tract) and then excreted  After radon enters the blood stream, most is quickly moved to the lungs and exhaled  Radon that is not exhaled goes to other organs and fat tissue, including red bone marrow where it may remain and undergo decay  Children have smaller lungs and faster breathing rates-results in higher estimated radiation doses to the lungs relative to adults (U.S. Department of Health and Human Service 2008) University of Maryland (2009)
  5. 5. Radon Exposure and Leukemia  Leukemia is the most common cancer in children  Interferes with the body’s production of blood cells  Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) is the most common form of leukemia in children (78% of cases)  Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) is the second most common form of leukemia in children (19% of cases)  Recently, human health risks in the form of leukemia have been evaluated due to inhalation of radon and radon progeny in indoor air.  Radon Exposure to Bone Marrow (Richardson et al. 1991)  Dose due to inhalation of short-lived radon progeny were estimated, measurements made on blood and marrow  Dose of radon is dependent on the fat content of the marrow  Solubility of radon in fat is approx. 16 times that in tissues  Alpha radiation from the inhalation of radon results in a significant does to red bone marrow
  6. 6. Radon Exposure and Leukemia Studies  Epidemiological studies indicate that increased domestic radon levels are associated with significant increase in incidence of leukemia in both children and adults  14% of the incidences of childhood leukemias in the UK may be linked to natural background high- LET alpha radiation (Henshaw, D.L., 2002)  Positive correlation with radon exposure in the home and incidences of Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)  25% risk of leukemia at any age group may arise from radon levels of 50 Bq/m³  Incidences of AML, 6-12% and as high as 23-43%, may be attributed to radon (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2007)  Cumulative radon exposure was associated with risk for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL)  Domestic radon exposure increases risk for ALL during childhood (Raaschou- Nielsen et al, 2008)  There is much controversy over radon’s association with leukemias
  7. 7. References  Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, Introducing the Radon Progeny (formerly called Radon Daughters), Retrieved on November 6, 2009 from http://ccnr.org/radon_chart.html  Henshaw, D.L., Radon and Childhood Cancer. British Journal of Cancer. 87(11): 1336-1337, November 2002.  Kyle, A., Children, Cancer, and the Environment. Information and Analysis Policy in the Public Interest, 2001.  Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Radon Research in Multi Disciplines: A Review. January 2007.  Raaschou-Nielsen, O., Andersen Claus, E., Andersen Helle, P., Gravesen, P., Lind, M., Schuz, J., and Ulbak, K. Domestic radon and childhood cancer in Denmark. Epidemiology. 19(4):536- 543, 2008.  Richcardson, R.B., Eatough, J.P., and Henshaw, D.L., Dose to red bone marrow from natural radon and thoron exposure. British Journal of Radiology. 64(763): 608-624, 1991.  The University of Maine, Radon in Water and Air Health Risks and Control Measures, Retrieved on November 6, 2009 from http://www.physics.umaine.edu/radiation/radon.htm
  8. 8. References  University of Maryland, Environmental Safety, Retrieved on November 8, 2009 from www.des.umd.edu/pics/rs/intake.gif  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Draft Toxicology Profile for Radon. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 2008. Meghan Lambert

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