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Radon

Effects on the lungs

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Lung cancer has been identified as a risk associated with radon. As radon decays it gives off products known as daughters of progeny; these are radioactive and very small. When they are present in air they may be inhaled and as they too undergo radioactive decay. When they becomedeposited in the lungs they give a radioactive dose to the lung tissues that may eventually result in lung cancer developing.

International estimates suggest that indoor radon exposure is responsible for between 10-15% of lung cancer deaths. 140-200 lung cancer-related deaths in Ireland are attributed to indoor radon. The duration and level of exposure determines the risk any person has of developing lung cancer. Strong evidence exists to show that smokers are far more at risk to radon than non-smokers. The risk has been estimated as 10 times greater by the National Radiological Protection Board in the United Kingdom.