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DOSE CONVERSION FACTORS FOR RADON: RECENT DEVELOPMENTS

Marsh, James W.*; Harrison, John D.*; Laurier, Dominique; Blanchardon, Eric; Paquet, François; Tirmarche, Margot

doi: 10.1097/HP.0b013e3181d6bc19
Dose Assessment: Paper
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Epidemiological studies of the occupational exposure of miners and domestic exposures of the public have provided strong and complementary evidence of the risks of lung cancer following inhalation of radon progeny. Recent miner epidemiological studies, which include low levels of exposure, long duration of follow-up, and good quality of individual exposure data, suggest higher risks of lung cancer per unit exposure than assumed previously by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP). Although risks can be managed by controlling exposures, dose estimates are required for the control of occupational exposures and are also useful for comparing sources of public exposure. Currently, ICRP calculates doses from radon and its progeny using dose conversion factors from exposure (WLM) to dose (mSv) based on miner epidemiological studies, referred to as the epidemiological approach. Revision of these dose conversion factors using risk estimates based on the most recent epidemiological data gives values that are in good agreement with the results of calculations using ICRP biokinetic and dosimetric models, the dosimetric approach. ICRP now proposes to treat radon progeny in the same way as other radionuclides and to publish dose coefficients calculated using models, for use within the ICRP system of protection.

* Health Protection Agency, Radiation Protection Division, Chilton, Didcot, UK; Institut de Radioprotection et de Sûreté Nucléaire, Fontenay-aux-Roses, France.

For correspondence contact: James Marsh, Health Protection Agency, Radiation Protection Division, Chilton, Didcot, UK, or email at james.marsh@hpa.org.uk.

(Manuscript accepted 29 January 2010)

©2010Health Physics Society