Following initial in vitro and in vivo studies and important studies of uranium miners, scientists have now completed impressive case-control studies of lung cancer risk from exposure to residential radon. Researchers have pooled these studies, in which all the information from the individual studies was reanalyzed. These pooled analyzes confirm that in the context of residential exposure, radon is now an established risk factor for lung cancer. Many of the initial uncertainties have been reduced, and health risk assessors are now confident that radon may contribute to as much as 10% of the total burden of lung cancer--that is, 2% of all cancers in the population, worldwide. To reduce residential radon lung cancer risk, national authorities must have methods and tools based on solid scientific evidence and sound public health policies. To meet these needs, the World Health Organization (WHO) has initiated the WHO International Radon Project. This three year project, to be implemented during the period 2005-2008, will include (1) a worldwide database on national residential radon levels, radon action levels, regulations, research institutions, and authorities; (2) public health guidance for awareness-raising and mitigation; and (3) an estimation of the global burden of disease (GDB) associated with radon exposure.