Radon Found to Cause Malignant Skin Cancer

Study: Radon’s Poses Stronger Risk of Skin Cancer for Young People

The importance of radon testing and the dangers of radon as the second largest cause of lung cancer are well known. But now scientists are discovering that radon also increases the risk of malignant skin cancer.

Published in the scientific peer-reviewed journal Environmental Health Perspectives, the study titled “Effects of Radon and UV Exposure on Skin Cancer Mortality in Switzerland” examines the impact of radon and UV exposure on mortality due to malignant skin cancer in Switzerland.

Medical Xpress reports:

“The study analysed 1,900 deaths due to malignant melanoma which occurred throughout Switzerland between 2000 and 2008 in people aged 20 years and above. The residential radon exposure was modeled on the basis of 45,000 measurements and accounted for the housing’s characteristics and the geological conditions of the area.”

“Our study shows that, when radon decays, radioactive alpha particles not only destroy lung tissue but can also affect the skin. This has rarely been researched in the past,” says Martin Röösli, professor for environmental epidemiology at Swiss TPH, who wrote the study together with Danielle Vienneau, senior scientific collaborator at the Institute.

Risk More Dangerous for the Young

Alarmingly, the younger the individual is, the more at risk they are at developing the disease. For the 30-year-olds, the relative risk for skin cancer increases around 50% per 100 Bq/mᵌ increase in radon exposure, while for the 60-year-olds it is considerably lower (16%).

“The younger the individual is, the greater the impact of radon on the risk of developing the disease,” Röösli told Medical Xpress. “The strengths of the Swiss TPH study are that it was a longitudinal analysis of the total population of Switzerland and that the effects of radon were modeled for every single household.”

As if there wasn’t already a need to test and remediate radon, especially in Dayton, OH, now we’ve got one more reason, thanks to science.