Quantitative health impact of indoor radon in France

Radiat Environ Biophys. 2018 Aug;57(3):205-214. doi: 10.1007/s00411-018-0741-x. Epub 2018 May 8.


Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. Since the previous quantitative risk assessment of indoor radon conducted in France, input data have changed such as, estimates of indoor radon concentrations, lung cancer rates and the prevalence of tobacco consumption. The aim of this work was to update the risk assessment of lung cancer mortality attributable to indoor radon in France using recent risk models and data, improving the consideration of smoking, and providing results at a fine geographical scale. The data used were population data (2012), vital statistics on death from lung cancer (2008-2012), domestic radon exposure from a recent database that combines measurement results of indoor radon concentration and the geogenic radon potential map for France (2015), and smoking prevalence (2010). The risk model used was derived from a European epidemiological study, considering that lung cancer risk increased by 16% per 100 becquerels per cubic meter (Bq/m3) indoor radon concentration. The estimated number of lung cancer deaths attributable to indoor radon exposure is about 3000 (1000; 5000), which corresponds to about 10% of all lung cancer deaths each year in France. About 33% of lung cancer deaths attributable to radon are due to exposure levels above 100 Bq/m3. Considering the combined effect of tobacco and radon, the study shows that 75% of estimated radon-attributable lung cancer deaths occur among current smokers, 20% among ex-smokers and 5% among never-smokers. It is concluded that the results of this study, which are based on precise estimates of indoor radon concentrations at finest geographical scale, can serve as a basis for defining French policy against radon risk.

Keywords: Health impact assessment; Lung cancer; Radon.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Air Pollutants, Radioactive / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • France / epidemiology
  • Housing*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Lung Neoplasms / etiology
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality
  • Male
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / etiology
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / mortality
  • Radiation Exposure / adverse effects
  • Radon / adverse effects*
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Young Adult


  • Air Pollutants, Radioactive
  • Radon