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No. 63: May-Jun 1989

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Taking The Radon Cure

"An internationally respected radon researcher has uncovered some surprising and perplexing evidence. High levels of radon exposure are known to cause lung cancer. Studies of people exposed to such levels in mines demonstrate that conclusively. Then it follows, most peo-ple have thought, that the best level is zero, and any increase should produce an increasing rate of lung cancer. But controversial studies show that this may not be so.

"In one study Dr. Bernard Cohen of the University of Pittsburgh compared average lung-cancer rates in many counties with the average radon rates found in the respective counties. It's an ambitious study - 39,000 measurements in 415 counties.

"The results: In counties where lung cancer in women would have been expected to be up 25 percent from the radon levels, the incidences of cancer were actually down 30 percent. There are others. Finland has average indoor-radon levels of 2.5 picocuries per liter - 2.5 times higher than the world average. Yet the female lung-cancer rate in Finland is only 70 percent that of other industrialized countries."

(Gilmore, C.P.; "Radon: Cancer Killer?" Popular Science, p. 8, May 1989. Cr. R.W Schiller)

From Science Frontiers #63, MAY-JUN 1989. 1989-2000 William R. Corliss