Lung cancer mortality among nonsmoking uranium miners exposed to radon daughters

JAMA. 1989 Aug 4;262(5):629-33.


Radon daughters, both in the workplace and in the household, are a continuing cause for concern because of the well-documented association between exposure to radon daughters and lung cancer. To estimate the risk of lung cancer mortality among nonsmokers exposed to varying levels of radon daughters, 516 white men who never smoked cigarettes, pipes, or cigars were selected from the US Public Health Service cohort of Colorado Plateau uranium miners and followed up from 1950 through 1984. Age-specific mortality rates for nonsmokers from a study of US veterans were used for comparison. Fourteen deaths from lung cancer were observed among the nonsmoking miners, while 1.1 deaths were expected, yielding a standardized mortality ratio of 12.7 with 95% confidence limits of 8.0 and 20.1. These results confirm that exposure to radon daughters in the absence of cigarette smoking is a potent carcinogen that should be strictly controlled.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cohort Studies
  • Colorado
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases / mortality
  • Lung Neoplasms / chemically induced
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mining*
  • Radon / adverse effects*
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking*
  • Time Factors
  • Uranium*
  • Veterans


  • Uranium
  • Radon