Residential radon might increase the risk of hospital admissions in COPD patients. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Residential radon and COPD. An ecological study in Galicia, Spain.
Int J Radiat Biol. 2016 Nov 17:1-9. Epub 2016 Nov 17. PMID: 27778529
PURPOSE: Radon is a human lung carcinogen but it might be linked with other respiratory diseases. We aimed to assess the relationship between residential radon exposure and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) prevalence and hospital admissions at a municipal level.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: We designed an ecological study where we included those municipalities with at least three radon measurements. Using mixed Poisson regression models, we calculated the relative risk (RR) for COPD for each 100 Bq/m(3) of increase in radon concentration and also the relative risk for COPD using a cut-off point of 50 Bq/m(3). We did not have individual data on cigarette smoking and therefore we used a proxy (bladder cancer standardized mortality rate) that has proved to account for tobacco consumption.We performed separate analyses for sex and also sensitivity analysis considering age and rurality.
RESULTS: A total of 3040 radon measurements and 49,393 COPD cases were included. The relative risk for COPD prevalence was 0.95 (95% CI: 0.92-0.97) while for hospital admissions the RR was 1.04 (95% CI: 1.00-1.10) for each 100 Bq/m(3). Relative risks were higher for women compared to men. Using a categorical analysis with a cut-off point of 50 Bq/m(3), the RR for COPD prevalence was 1.06 (95% CI: 1.02-1.10) and for hospital admissions it was 1.08 (95% CI: 1.00-1.17) for women living in municipalities with more than 50 Bq/m(3). All risks were also higher for women. No relevant differences were observed for age, rurality or other categories for radon exposure.
CONCLUSION: While the influence of radon on COPD prevalence is unclear depending on the approach used, it seems that residential radon might increase the risk of hospital admissions in COPD patients. Women have a higher risk than men in all situations. Since this is an ecological study, results should be interpreted cautiously.