Radon exposure and risk of cerebrovascular disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis in occupational and general population studies


Although it is biologically plausible, findings relating radon exposure to the risk of cerebrovascular disease (CeVD) are inconsistent and inconclusive. To investigate whether radon exposure was associated with the risk of CeVD, we qualitatively and quantitatively summarized the literature on radon and CeVD in both occupational and general populations. A search of PubMed, Embase, Scopus, and Web of Science was performed for peer-reviewed articles published through March 2022. Studies were excluded if radon exposure was not assessed separately from other ionizing radiation. In the meta-analysis, excess relative risks (ERRs) were converted to relative risks (RRs), and the pooled RRs and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were determined using the random-effects model (DerSimonian and Laird). In the systematic review, nine eligible studies were summarized. Six occupational studies indicated inconsistent associations between cumulative radon exposure and CeVD mortality among mine workers. With available data from four updated occupational studies (99,730 mine workers and 2745 deaths), the pooled RR of radon exposure with CeVD mortality showed a non-significant association (1.10, 95% CI 0.92, 1.31). Three studies (841,270 individuals and 24,288 events) conducted in general populations consistently demonstrated a significant inverse relationship between residential radon exposure and risk of CeVD. The existing literature suggested a potential link between radon exposure and CeVD risk in general population. The inconsistent association in occupationally exposed populations may be explained by different methods of radon assessment and other methodological issues. Since radon exposure is a common public health issue, more rigorously designed epidemiologic studies, especially in the general population are warranted.

Authors: Liping Lu, Yijia Zhang, Cheng Chen, Robert William Field, Ka Kahe
; Full Source: Environmental science and pollution research international 2022 Apr 23. doi: 10.1007/s11356-022-20241-x.