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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 105, Issue 1, pp e4–e10 | Cite as

Geographic variation in radon and associated lung cancer risk in Canada

  • Perry Hystad
  • Michael Brauer
  • Paul A. Demers
  • Kenneth C. Johnson
  • Eleanor Setton
  • Alejandro Cervantes-Larios
  • Karla Poplawski
  • Alana McFarlane
  • Alan Whitehead
  • Anne-Marie Nicol
Quantitative Research
  • 3 Downloads

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Radon is an important risk factor for lung cancer. Here we use maps of the geographic variation in radon to estimate the lung cancer risk associated with living in high radon areas of Canada.

METHODS: Geographic variation in radon was estimated using two mapping methods. The first used a Health Canada survey of 14,000 residential radon measurements aggregated to health regions, and the second, radon risk areas previously estimated from geology, sediment geochemistry and aerial gamma-ray spectrometry. Lung cancer risk associated with living in these radon areas was examined using a population-based case-control study of 2,390 lung cancer cases and 3,507 controls collected from 1994–1997 in eight Canadian provinces. Residential histories over a 20-year period were used in combination with the two mapping methods to estimate ecological radon exposures. Hierarchical logistic regression analyses were used to estimate odds ratios for lung cancer incidence, after adjusting for a comprehensive set of individual and geographic covariates.

RESULTS: Across health regions in Canada, significant variation in average residential radon concentrations (range: 16–386 Bq/m3) and in high geological-based radon areas (range: 0–100%) is present. In multivariate models, a 50 Bq/m3 increase in average health region radon was associated with a 7% (95% CI: −6–21%) increase in the odds of lung cancer. For every 10 years that individuals lived in high radon geological areas, the odds of lung cancer increased by 11 % (95% CI: 1–23%).

CONCLUSIONS: These findings provide further evidence that radon is an important risk factor for lung cancer and that risks are unevenly distributed across Canada.

Key words

Radon lung cancer geographic case-control Canada 

Résumé

OBJECTIF: Le radon est un important facteur de risque du cancer du poumon. Nous utilisons ici des cartes de variation spatiale du radon pour estimer le risque de cancer du poumon associé au fait de vivre dans les régions du Canada fortement exposées au radon.

MÉTHODE: Nous avons estimé la variation spatiale du radon à l’aide de deux méthodes de cartographie. La première a fait appel à une enquête de Santé Canada regroupant 14 000 mesures du radon dans les habitations par région sanitaire, et la deuxième, à des estimations antérieures des régions exposées au radon par la géologie, la géochimie sédimentaire et la spectrométrie gamma aéroportée. Nous avons examiné le risque de cancer du poumon associé au fait de vivre dans ces zones exposées au radon à l’aide d’une étude populationnelle cas-témoins menée entre 1994 et 1997 auprès de 2 390 cas de cancer du poumon et de 3 507 témoins dans huit provinces canadiennes. Nous avons combiné les lieux de résidence des sujets au cours des 20 années précédentes avec les deux méthodes de cartographie pour estimer les expositions écologiques au radon. Des analyses de régression logistique hiérarchiques ont permis d’estimer les rapports de cotes de l’incidence du cancer du poumon, après avoir tenu compte d’un ensemble exhaustif de covariables individuelles et géographiques.

RÉSULTATS: Les régions sanitaires du Canada diffèrent considérablement en ce qui a trait à leurs concentrations moyennes en radon dans les habitations (intervalle: 16–386 Bq/m3) et aux zones géologiques fortement exposées au radon (intervalle: 0–100 %). Dans les modèles multivariés, une hausse de 50 Bq/m3 du radon dans une région sanitaire moyenne était associée à une hausse de 7 % (IC de 95 %: −6–21 %) de la probabilité de cancer du poumon. Pour chaque tranche de 10 ans pendant laquelle les sujets avaient vécu dans des zones géologiques fortement exposées au radon, la probabilité du cancer du poumon augmentait de 11 % (IC de 95 %: 1–23 %).

CONCLUSIONS: Ces constatations sont des preuves supplémentaires que le radon est un important facteur de risque du cancer du poumon, et que les risques sont inégalement répartis au Canada.

Mots clés

radon tumeurs du poumon régions géographiques études cas-témoins Canada 

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Perry Hystad
  • Michael Brauer
  • Paul A. Demers
  • Kenneth C. Johnson
  • Eleanor Setton
  • Alejandro Cervantes-Larios
  • Karla Poplawski
  • Alana McFarlane
  • Alan Whitehead
  • Anne-Marie Nicol

There are no affiliations available

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