Radiation Risk Assessment

For more information visit:

World Map of National Residential Radon Levels


INTERPHONE summary of  rfcom.ca

The McLaughlin Centre is involved in three major projects aimed at radiation risk assessment: the Residential Radon and Risk of Lung Cancer- A Global Study consists of the pooling of data from North American and European case-control studies of residential radon and lung cancer; theInternational Collaborative Study of Cancer Risk among Radiation Workers in the Nuclear Industry that examines cancer incidences and occupational radiation exposure; and the INTERPHONE study, an international collaborative case-control study investigating whether cellular telephone use is associated with an increase risk of tumours of the brain and salivary glands.

International Collaborative Study of Cancer Risk among Radiation Workers in the Nuclear Industry
This study examines a cohort of over 600 000 nuclear industry workers in seventeen countries initiated in 1990. The objective of the study is to estimate the effect of low-dose protracted exposure to ionizing radiation in order to improve radiation protection standards for environmental and occupational exposures. A sub-cohort of nuclear industry workers from the Canadian National Dose Registry has been analyzed for mortality as Canada’s contribution to the IARC study.  Using the National Dose Registry of Canada, scientists at the McLaughlin Centre are examining cancer incidence and occupational radiation exposure in Canadian Nuclear Workers.

Residential Radon and Risk of Lung Cancer- A Global Study
In addition to being present at high concentrations in many types of underground mines, radon is found in homes and is also present outdoors. Extensive measurements of indoor radon concentrations in homes show that although concentrations vary widely, radon is universally present raising concerns that radon in homes increases lung-cancer risk for the general population, especially those who spend a majority of their time indoors at home. According to the report “Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation (BEIR) VI Report: "The Health Effects of Exposure to Indoor Radon" radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. and that it is a serious public health problem. However, the report acknowledges that there are gaps in our scientific knowledge about the effects at low levels of radon exposure. Since 1995, this project has been global in scope incorporating European and North American studies. The McLaughlin Centre, led by Daniel Krewski, will participate in the global pooling of the North American data and European data for a global assessment of the risks of residential radon exposure in the development of lung cancer. 

Potential health effects of electromagnetic fields (EMF) have been a topic of scientific interest since the late 1900s, and have received particular attention in the last 40 years. Common sources of these fields include power lines, household electrical wiring, appliances and motor driven instruments, computer screens, telecommunications and broadcast facilities, cellular telephones and their base stations. Cellular telephone use has increased steadily in the past few years in many countries. In 1998, an international group of scientists, from 13 countries including Canada, convened by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) recommended a coordinated international study of cancer risks related to the use of cell phones. The Canadian study focuses around three centres – Montreal, Ottawa and Vancouver/Victoria because of the high prevalence of cell phone use over several years in these cities. The McLaughlin Centre is coordinating, collecting and analyzing the data from the Ottawa cohort of patients involved in the study.