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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter June 12, 2018

Exposure to indoor radon can be a concern in studies on the role of short-term exposure to air pollution and mortality

S.M.J. Mortazavi ORCID logo EMAIL logo


Recent studies show that short-term exposure to ambient particulate matter is associated with more emergency department visits and hospitalizations for pneumonia as well as increased mortality and increased health care costs among older adults. Moreover, exposure to ambient particulate matter is shown to be connected with an increased rate of daily mortality and hospitalizations due to cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). The association between short-term exposures to particulate matter with a diameter less than 2.5 µm (PM2.5) and ozone [at levels below the current daily National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS)] and mortality in the continental United States has been recently addressed by some researchers. Although exposure to radon is usually known to cause late health effects such as lung cancer, some studies show a significant association between radon exposure and cerebrovascular disease (CeVD) mortality. In some residential areas with high levels of radon, it has been found that the incidences of respiratory, nervous system and cardiovascular system diseases exceed the average. Studies that calculated the radiation dose to blood and the walls of coronary arteries from radon and progeny also indicate that exposure to radon can increase the incidence of CVDs. Based on the evidence provided in this short communication, it can be concluded that ignoring the key role of radon in non-cancer mortality can easily affect the validity of the studies aimed at investigating the association between exposure to ambient fine particulate matter and mortality.

Corresponding author: S.M.J. Mortazavi, PhD, Professor of Medical Physics, Visiting Scientist, 1. Biophotonics Lab, Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, 3200 N Cramer St., Milwaukee, WI 53211, USA, Phone: +(414) 229-6619

  1. Research funding: Author states no funding involved.

  2. Conflict of interest: Author states no conflict of interest.

  3. Informed consent: Informed consent is not applicable.

  4. Ethical approval: The conducted research is not related to either human or animal use.


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Received: 2018-03-15
Accepted: 2018-05-18
Published Online: 2018-06-12
Published in Print: 2018-09-25

©2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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