A review of ecologic studies of lung cancer and indoor radon

Health Phys. 1993 Sep;65(3):234-51. doi: 10.1097/00004032-199309000-00001.


Although radon exposure is an established cause of lung cancer among underground miners, the lung cancer risk to the general population from indoor radon remains controversial. This controversy stems in part from the contradictory results of published studies of indoor radon and lung cancer, including 15 ecologic studies, seven of which found a positive association, six no association, and two a negative association. To address the misunderstanding of the indoor radon risk that has resulted from these ecologic studies, the authors discuss the general methodologic problems and limitations of ecologic studies, and the particular limitations of these 15 studies. The authors conclude that the shortcomings of the ecologic studies render them uninformative on the lung cancer risk associated with indoor radon.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants, Radioactive / adverse effects*
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / adverse effects*
  • Ecology
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced*
  • Radon / adverse effects*


  • Air Pollutants, Radioactive
  • Radon