Concerns in Sweden about indoor radon around 1980 prompted measurements of gamma-radiation from the facades of houses to identify those constructed of uranium-containing alum shale concrete, with potentially high radon concentrations. To evaluate any possible risk of acute lymphocytic leukemia from exposure to elevated gamma-radiation in these homes, we identified the acute lymphocytic leukemia cases less than 20 years of age in Sweden during 1980-1989 as well as eight controls per case from the population registry, matching on age, gender, and county. Using the existing measurements, exposure was assessable for 312 cases and 1,418 controls from 151 properly measured municipalities. A conditional logistic odds ratio of 1.4 (95% confidence interval = 1.0-1.9) was obtained for those ever having lived in alum shale concrete houses, with the average exposure exceeding 0.10 microsieverts per hour. Comparing those who ever lived in alum shale concrete houses (divided by higher and lower annual average exposure) with those who never lived in such houses, we found a weak dose-response relation. The results suggest some risk of acute lymphocytic leukemia from indoor ionizing radiation among children and young adults.
OBJECTIVES: Lung cancer caused by radon in miners is a well-known risk. However, the risk estimates vary between studies and between mines. We have studied the dose response-relationship in a Swedish iron ore mine where two other studies have previously reached different risk estimates. As this mine has relatively low radon levels, the results are highly relevant for risk estimation in non-uranium underground mines. METHODS: A new cohort of 5486 male workers employed from 1923 to 1996 was established. Cumulative radon exposures were assessed based on a large number of measurements, including reconstructions of historical conditions. 122 lung cancer cases occurred during the follow-up period of 1958-2000. RESULTS: The average cumulative exposure in underground workers was 32 kBq year/m(3) (65 working level months (WLM)), experienced over 14.6 years. The excess RR (ERR) per kBq year/m(3) was 0.046 (95% CI 0.015 to 0.077; 0.022 ERR/WLM). Confounding by quartz may affect these results but appears to account only for 10-20% of the risk. The results for squamous cell and small cell lung cancer were 0.049 and 0.072, respectively. However, no increased risk was observed for adenocarcinoma (0.000 ERR per kBq year/m(3), 95% CI -0.017 to 0.017). CONCLUSION: Our overall risk estimate is about half of that found in the first Malmberget study but twice that found in the same cohort in the previously published pooled analysis. Radon did not increase the risk for adenocarcinoma in the lung.