Residential radon and lung cancer risk in a high-exposure area of Gansu Province, China

Am J Epidemiol. 2002 Mar 15;155(6):554-64. doi: 10.1093/aje/155.6.554.


In the general population, evaluation of lung cancer risk from radon in houses is hampered by low levels of exposure and by dosimetric uncertainties due to residential mobility. To address these limitations, the authors conducted a case-control study in a predominantly rural area of China with low mobility and high radon levels. Included were all lung cancer cases diagnosed between January 1994 and April 1998, aged 30-75 years, and residing in two prefectures. Randomly selected, population-based controls were matched on age, sex, and prefecture. Radon detectors were placed in all houses occupied for 2 or more years during the 5-30 years prior to enrollment. Measurements covered 77% of the possible exposure time. Mean radon concentrations were 230.4 Bq/m(3) for cases (n = 768) and 222.2 Bq/m(3) for controls (n = 1,659). Lung cancer risk increased with increasing radon level (p < 0.001). When a linear model was used, the excess odds ratios at 100 Bq/m(3) were 0.19 (95% confidence interval: 0.05, 0.47) for all subjects and 0.31 (95% confidence interval: 0.10, 0.81) for subjects for whom coverage of the exposure interval was 100%. Adjusting for exposure uncertainties increased estimates by 50%. Results support increased lung cancer risks with indoor radon exposures that may equal or exceed extrapolations based on miner data.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / adverse effects*
  • Carcinogens, Environmental / adverse effects*
  • Carcinogens, Environmental / analysis
  • Case-Control Studies
  • China / epidemiology
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Female
  • Housing
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Lung Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Lung Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radon / adverse effects*
  • Radon / analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Rural Population
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Smoking / epidemiology


  • Carcinogens, Environmental
  • Radon