Denman, A. R., Phillips, P. S., Tornberg, R. and Groves-Kirkby, C. J. (2005) Analysis of the individual health benefits accruing from a domestic radon remediation programme. Journal of Environmental Radioactivity.79(1), pp. 7-23. 0265-931X.
Denman, A. R., Phillips, P. S., Tornberg, R. and Groves-Kirkby, C. J.
Although radon can be present within buildings at sufficient levels to pose a health risk, levels can be reduced relatively easily. Recent studies on a group of radon-remediated homes, based on assessment of collective population-average risk coefficients, have estimated the benefits and cost effectiveness accruing from remediation and have confirmed that domestic remediation in UK radon Affected Areas would result in significantly reduced cancer risks to the population in those areas. Although the population-average approach used hitherto has applied occupancy and lung-cancer risk factors, these are potentially misleading in assessing discrete populations. The study reported here uses the recently developed European Community Radon Software (ECRS) to quantify individual risks in a sample of householders who remediated their homes following indications that radon levels exceeded the action level. The study proceeds from population-averaged to ‘individual risk’ evaluation, successfully comparing individual and collective risk assessments, and demonstrates that those who remediate are not representative of the general population. Health benefits accruing from remediation are three times lower than expected, largely because remediators are older, live in smaller households, and smoke less than the population average, leading to the conclusion that the current strategy employed in the UK is failing to target those most at risk