Lung cancer risk at low radon exposure rates in German uranium miners

Br J Cancer. 2015 Nov 3;113(9):1367-9. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2015.324. Epub 2015 Sep 22.


Background: A determination of the risk of lung cancer at low levels of radon exposure is important for occupational radiation protection.

Methods: The risk of death from lung cancer at low radon exposure rates was investigated in the subcohort of 26,766 German uranium miners hired in 1960 or later.

Results: A clear association between lung cancer mortality (n=334 deaths) and cumulative exposure to radon in working level months (WLM) was found. The excess relative risk per WLM was 0.013 (95% confidence intervals: 0.007; 0.021).

Conclusions: The present findings provide strong evidence for an increased lung cancer risk after long-term exposure to low radon exposure rates among Wismut miners. The results are compatible to those from residential radon studies and miner studies restricted to low levels.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cohort Studies
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality
  • Middle Aged
  • Miners
  • Mining / methods
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / etiology*
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / mortality
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology*
  • Occupational Diseases / mortality
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Radon / adverse effects*
  • Risk
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Uranium / adverse effects
  • Young Adult


  • Uranium
  • Radon