Radon study looks at effects on miners
Web Posted Feb 6, 2003
PRINCE ALBERT - A new study is underway examining the link between radon exposure and lung cancer in uranium miners. The provincial and federal government is helping to fund the $180,000 project that will look at the past, present and future of Saskatchewan uranium miners.
Past data clearly shows that radon exposure increases the risk of lung cancer for miners, but the risk is unknown for workers in modern mines where exposure to radon is significantly lower.
Rachel Lane is an epidemiologist with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.
"We have a very strong commitment from the mining companies to start the data collection now," she says. "If there are exposures that we think are important, we can do it now and have that information on file, as opposed to what has happened in the past, where the information is very sparse and we've had to make estimates and so on. We want to sort of be proactive."
The two-year study should help build the base for a modern risk assessment for uranium miners, but it could take between two and three decades before enough data is collected to determine the long-term risk.