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Jin-Kyu Kang 1 Article
Health effects of exposure to radon: implications of the radon bed mattress incident in Korea
Songwon Seo, Wi-Ho Ha, Jin-Kyu Kang, Dalnim Lee, Soojin Park, Tae-Eun Kwon, Young Woo Jin
Epidemiol Health. 2019;41:e2019004.   Published online February 12, 2019
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AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDF
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive material formed by the slow decay of uranium and thorium found in the earth’s crust or construction materials. Internal exposure to radon accounts for about half of the natural background radiation dose to which humans are exposed annually. Radon is a carcinogen and is the second leading cause of lung cancer following smoking. An association between radon and lung cancer has been consistently reported in epidemiological studies on mine workers and the general population with indoor radon exposure. However, associations have not been clearly established between radon and other diseases, such as leukemia and thyroid cancer. Radiation doses are assessed by applying specific dose conversion coefficients according to the source (e.g., radon or thoron) and form of exposure (e.g., internal or external). However, regardless of the source or form of exposure, the effects of a given estimated dose on human health are identical, assuming that individuals have the same sensitivity to radiation. Recently, radiation exceeding the annual dose limit of the general population (1 mSv/yr) was detected in bed mattresses produced by D company due to the use of a monazite-based anion powder containing uranium and thorium. This has sparked concerns about the health hazards for mattress users caused by radiation exposure. In light of this event, this study presents scientific information about the assessment of radon and thoron exposure and its human implications for human health, which have emerged as a recent topic of interest and debate in society.
Korean summary
라돈은 세계보건기구에서 지정한 발암물질로, 흡연 다음으로 폐암을 유발한다. 지난 2018년 5월에 D사 침대 매트리스에서 라돈 및 토론에 의한 일반인의 선량한도 기준치(1 mSv/yr) 이상의 방사선이 검출되었다. 이로 인해 침대 사용자의 방사선 피폭으로 인한 건강영향 우려가 대두되고 있다. 이번 연구에서는 라돈 침대 노출 사고와 관련하여 그 동안 잘 알려지지 않은 라돈 및 토론의 노출평가 및 역학 연구 결과들을 살펴보고, 그 시사점을 고찰한다.


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