Residential radon and lung cancer among never-smokers in Sweden

Epidemiology. 2001 Jul;12(4):396-404. doi: 10.1097/00001648-200107000-00009.


In this study, we attempted to reduce existing uncertainty about the relative risk of lung cancer from residential radon exposure among never-smokers. Comprehensive measurements of domestic radon were performed for 258 never-smoking lung cancer cases and 487 never-smoking controls from five Swedish case-control studies. With additional never-smokers from a previous case-control study of lung cancer and residential radon exposure in Sweden, a total of 436 never-smoking lung cancer cases diagnosed in Sweden between 1980 and 1995 and 1,649 never-smoking controls were included. The relative risks (with 95% confidence intervals in parentheses) of lung cancer in relation to categories of time-weighted average domestic radon concentration during three decades, delimited by cutpoints at 50, 80, and 140 Bq m(-3), were 1.08 (0.8--1.5), 1.18 (0.9--1.6), and 1.44 (1.0--2.1), respectively, with average radon concentrations below 50 Bq m(-3) used as reference category and with adjustment for other risk factors. The data suggested that among never-smokers residential radon exposure may be more harmful for those exposed to environmental tobacco smoke. Overall, an excess relative risk of 10% per 100 Bq m(-3) average radon concentration was estimated, which is similar to the summary effect estimate for all subjects in the main residential radon studies to date.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinogens, Environmental / adverse effects*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Female
  • Housing
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Lung Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radon / adverse effects*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Time Factors
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / adverse effects*


  • Carcinogens, Environmental
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution
  • Radon