High radon areas and lung cancer prevalence in Ireland


ESRI Research Bulletin Articles provide short summaries of work published by ESRI researchers and overviews of thematic areas covered by ESRI programmes of research. Bulletin Articles are designed to be easily accessible to a wide readership. A reference or references to the full publication is included at the start of each Bulletin article.

February 7, 2018 | ESRI Research Bulletin

front cover for RB201803 Authors: Seraphim Dempsey , Seán Lyons , Anne Nolan

Exposure to radon gas is thought to be the second most important cause of lung cancer worldwide after smoking. This naturally-occurring radioactive gas can seep into houses from beneath the ground or from particular building materials. Ireland has relatively high indoor radon concentrations, estimated to be the eighth highest level among OECD countries. This research examines data on a large sample of people aged 50+ in Ireland to see whether living in areas with greater risk of radon exposure is associated with higher odds of a lung cancer diagnosis. It takes into account other risk factors such as smoking and age in order to isolate the possible effect of radon.


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