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Radon and Childhood Cancer

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    Radon and Childhood Cancer Radon and Childhood Cancer Presentation Transcript

    • 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,
      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
      IndoorRadon Exposure and Leukemia
      Radon and Radon Progeny
      Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility (1996)
    • 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
      Radon in Water and Air
      Physics and Astronomy – The University of Maine
    • 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)
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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