National Academies Press: OpenBook

Risk Assessment of Radon in Drinking Water (1999)

Chapter:Front Matter

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. Risk Assessment of Radon in Drinking Water. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6287.
×

Risk Assessment of Radon in Drinking Water

Committee on Risk Assessment of Exposure to Radon in Drinking Water

Board on Radiation Effects Research

Commission on Life Sciences

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C.
1999

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. Risk Assessment of Radon in Drinking Water. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6287.
×

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
2101 Constitution Avenue, NW Washington, D.C. 20418

NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard to appropriate balance.

This report was prepared under EPA Contract EPA X825492-01-0 between the National Academy of Sciences and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Risk assessment of radon in drinking water / Committee on Risk Assessment of Exposure to Radon in Drinking Water, Board on Radiation Effects Research, Commission on Life Sciences, National Research Council.

p. cm.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

ISBN 0-309-06292-6 (casebound).

1. Drinking water—Contamination—United States. 2. Radon—Health aspects. 3. Indoor air pollution—Health aspects—United States. 4. Radon mitigation. 5. Health risk assessment—United States. I. National Research Council (U.S.). Committee on Risk Assessment of Exposure to Radon in Drinking Water.

RA592.A1 R57 1999 99-6134

615.9'02—dc21

Risk Assessment of Radon in Drinking Water is available for sale from the
National Academy Press,
2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Box 285, Washington, DC 20055; 1-800-624-6242 or 202-334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu

Copyright 1999 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

Printed in the United States of America

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. Risk Assessment of Radon in Drinking Water. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6287.
×

COMMITTEE ON RISK ASSESSMENT OF EXPOSURE TO RADON IN DRINKING WATER

JOHN DOULL (Chair),

University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS

THOMAS B. BORAK,

Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO

JAMES E. CLEAVER,

Department of Dermatology, University of California, San Francisco, CA

KEITH F. ECKERMAN,

Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN

LINDA C.S. GUNDERSEN,

US Geological Survey, Reston, VA

NAOMI H. HARLEY,

New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY

CHARLES T. HESS,

University of Maine, Orono, ME

PHILIP K. HOPKE,

Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY

NANCY E. KINNER,

University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH

KENNETH J. KOPECKY,

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA

THOMAS E. McKONE,

University of California, Berkeley, CA

RICHARD G. SEXTRO,

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA

CLS ADVISER

JONATHAN M. SAMET,

Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL STAFF

STEVEN L. SIMON, Study Director,

Board on Radiation Effects Research

KAREN M. BRYANT, Project Assistant

DORIS E. TAYLOR, Staff Assistant

NORMAN GROSSBLATT, Editor

SPONSOR'S PROJECT OFFICER

NANCY CHIU,

US Environmental Protection Agency

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. Risk Assessment of Radon in Drinking Water. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6287.
×

BOARD ON RADIATION EFFECTS RESEARCH

JOHN B. LITTLE (Chair),

Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA

R.J. MICHAEL FRY,

Oak Ridge, TN*

S. JAMES ADELSTEIN,

Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA

VALERIE BERAL,

University of Oxford, United Kingdom

EDWARD R. EPP,

Harvard University, Boston, MA

HELEN B. EVANS,

Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH

MERRIL EISENBUD,

Chapel Hill, NC (deceased August 1997)

MAURICE S. FOX,

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA§

PHILIP C. HANAWALT,

Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA (member until 6/30/98)||

LYNN W. JELINSKI,

Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

WILLIAM F. MORGAN,

University of California, San Francisco

WILLIAM J. SCHULL,

The University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston, TX

DANIEL O. STRAM,

University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA

SUSAN W. WALLACE,

University of Vermont, Burlington, VT

H. RODNEY WITHERS,

UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL STAFF

EVAN B. DOUPLE, Director,

Board on Radiation Effects Research

RICK JOSTES, Senior Program Officer

STEVEN L. SIMON, Senior Program Officer

CATHERINE S. BERKLEY, Administrative Associate

KAREN BRYANT, Project Assistant

PEGGY JOHNSON, Project Assistant

DORIS E. TAYLOR, Staff Assistant

*  

New BRER Chair effective 7/1/98

  

New members effective 7/1/98

  

IOM

§  

NAS.NAE

||  

;NAS

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. Risk Assessment of Radon in Drinking Water. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6287.
×

COMMISSION ON LIFE SCIENCES

THOMAS D. POLLARD (Chair),

The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, CA

FREDERICK R. ANDERSON,

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, Washington, DC

JOHN C. BAILAR, III,

University of Chicago, IL

PAUL BERG,

Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, CA

JOANNA BURGER,

Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ

SHARON L. DUNWOODY,

University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI

JOHN L. EMMERSON,

Indianapolis, IN

NEAL L. FIRST,

University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI

URSULA W. GOODENOUGH,

Washington University, St. Louis, MO

HENRY W. HEIKKINEN,

University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, CO

HANS J. KENDE,

Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI

CYNTHIA J. KENYON,

University of California, San Francisco, CA

DAVID M. LIVINGSTON,

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA

THOMAS E. LOVEJOY,

Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC

DONALD R. MATTISON,

University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

JOSEPH E. MURRAY,

Wellesley Hills, MA

EDWARD E. PENHOET,

Chiron Corporation, Emeryville, CA

MALCOLM C. PIKE,

Norris/USC Comprehensive Cancer Center, Los Angeles, CA

JONATHAN M. SAMET,

The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD

CHARLES F. STEVENS,

The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, CA

JOHN L. VANDEBERG,

Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research, San Antonio, TX

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL STAFF

PAUL GILMAN, Executive Director

ALVIN G. LAZEN, Associate Executive Director

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. Risk Assessment of Radon in Drinking Water. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6287.
×

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences.

The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is the president of the National Academy of Engineering.

The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine.

The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. Risk Assessment of Radon in Drinking Water. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6287.
×

Preface

At the request of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) pursuant to a congressional mandate (amendment to bill S. 1316 to amend title XIV of the Public Health Service Act commonly known as the Safe Drinking Water Act), the National Research Council has appointed a multidisciplinary committee to conduct a study and report on the health risks associated with exposure to radon in drinking water. The committee was also asked to prepare an assessment of the health-risk reduction associated with various mitigation measures to reduce radon in indoor air; to accomplish this task, the committee used the results of the latest scientific studies of risk assessment and relevant peer-reviewed research carried out by organizations and individual investigators. Finally, the committee was asked to summarize the agreements and differences between the various advisory organizations on the issues relevant to the health risks posed by radon in drinking water and radon-mitigation measures and to evaluate the technical and scientific bases of any differences that exist.

The Committee on Risk Assessment of Radon in Drinking Water was appointed in May 1997, held its first meeting on July 14–15, 1997, and held six additional meetings during the next 9 months. The ability of the committee to comply with this extremely tight schedule is a reflection of the dedication and expertise of the committee members and the efforts of the committee staff.

The committee acknowledges the help of those individuals or organizations who gave presentations during our meetings and/or provided information in response to requests by committee members or staff and to others who helped the committee in the completion of our task.

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. Risk Assessment of Radon in Drinking Water. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6287.
×

Gustav Akerbloom, Swedish Radiation Protection Institute

Hannu Arvela, Finnish Radiation/Nuclear Safety Authority

Timothy Barry, Environmental Protection Agency

David S. Chase, New Hampshire Radiologic Health Bureau

Gail Charnley, Presidential/Congressional Commission on Risk Assessment and Risk Management

Nancy Chiu, Environmental Protection Agency

Jack Correia, Massachusetts General Hospital

Bill Diamond, Environmental Protection Agency

Joe Drago, Kennedy Jenks, San Francisco, CA

Susumo Ito, Professor Emeritus, Harvard University

Dan Krewski, Environmental Health Centre, Ottawa, Canada

Jay Lubin, National Cancer Institute

J.P. Malley, Jr., University of New Hampshire

Sylvia Malm, Environmental Protection Agency

Frank Marcinowski, Environmental Protection Agency

Lars Mjones, Swedish Radiation Protection Institute

Roger McClellan, Chemical Industry Institute of Toxicology

Neal S. Nelson, Environmental Protection Agency

David Paris, Waterworks, Manchester, NH

Dan Pederson, American Water Works Association

Frederick Pontius, American Water Works Association

Jerome Puskin, Environmental Protection Agency

Edith Robbins, New York University

David Rowson, Environmental Protection Agency

Richard Toohey, Oak Ridge Institute of Science and Education

George Sachs, VA Medical Center, Los Angeles

Anita Schmidt, Environmental Protection Agency

Daniel J. Steck, St. John's University

Grant Stemmerman, University of Cincinnati

Neil Weinstein, Rutgers University

Jeanette Wiltse, Environmental Protection Agency

This report has been reviewed by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council's Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the authors and the National Research Council in making their published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The content of the review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report:

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. Risk Assessment of Radon in Drinking Water. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6287.
×

Antone Brooks, Washington State University, Tri-Cities

Bernard Cohen, University of Pittsburgh

Douglas Crawford-Brown, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

Robert E. Forster, The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

Sharon Friedman, Lehigh University

Patricia L. Gardner, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

Roger O. McClellan, Chemical Industry Institute of Toxicology

Gilbert Omenn, University of Washington

Frank H. Stillinger, Bell Laboratories

Rhodes Trussell, Montgomery Watson, Inc.

The committee members would like to express their gratitude to the staff of the National Research Council's Board on Radiation Effects Research. The committee members are especially appreciative for study director Steven Simon's technical guidance and encouragement. They are also grateful to Karen Bryant and Doris Taylor for assistance with administrative details related to the committee's work.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. Risk Assessment of Radon in Drinking Water. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6287.
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Cancer Risk Per Unit 222Rn Concentration in Drinking Water

 

76

   

Special Populations at Risk

 

81

5

 

Dosimetry of Inhaled Radon and its Associated Risk

 

82

   

Inhalation of Radon and Its Short-lived Decay Products

 

82

   

Risk Posed by Inhalation of 222Rn Decay Products

 

82

   

Lung Dose from 222Rn Gas

 

83

   

Dose to Organs Other Than the Lung from Inhaled 222Rn

 

84

   

222Rn Decay-Product Dose During Showering

 

84

   

Lung-Cancer Risk Posed by Inhalation of 222Rn Decay Products

 

93

   

Epidemiology of Childhood Exposure and Lung-Cancer Risk

 

100

   

Environmental and Domestic Epidemiology

 

100

   

Epidemiology of Cancer of Organs Other Than Lung

 

102

   

Evaluation of Risk Per Unit Exposure from Inhaled 222Rn in Air

 

103

6

 

Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms of Radon-Induced Carcinogenesis

 

105

   

Cells at Risk

 

105

   

Cellular Damage Induced by Radon Alpha Particles

 

107

   

Transformation of Cells by Alpha Particles in Vitro

 

110

   

DNA Damage and Its Repair—the Caretaker Genes

 

110

   

Deletion Mutagenesis and Chromosomal Changes Caused by Densely Ionizing Radiation

 

114

   

Control of Cellular Responses to Damage—the Arbitrator Gene

 

115

   

Apoptosis—the Undertaker Genes

 

116

   

Initial Genetic Changes in Carcinogenesis—the Gatekeeper Genes

 

118

   

Tumor Growth and Nutrition—the Caterers

 

119

   

Genetic Instability in Irradiated Cell Populations—the Diversifiers

 

120

   

Mutations in α-Particle-Induced Tumors—the Fingerprints

 

121

   

Epidemiologic, Biophysical, and Cell-Based Models of Radon-Induced Carcinogenesis

 

122

7

 

Defining Key Variabilities and Uncertainties

 

124

   

Reliability of a Health-Risk Assessment

 

126

   

Environmental Protection Agency Process for Assessing and Evaluating Uncertainties in Radon Risk

 

127

   

Issues in Uncertainty Analysis for Radon

 

129

   

The Committee's Evaluation of Uncertainties in Risk Assessment of Radon in Drinking Water

 

130

   

Communication of Uncertain Risk Information

 

137

   

Discussion and Recommendations

 

139

Page xiii Cite
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The Safe Drinking Water Act directs the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate the quality of drinking water, including its concentration of radon, an acknowledged carcinogen.

This book presents a valuable synthesis of information about the total inhalation and ingestion risks posed by radon in public drinking water, including comprehensive reviews of data on the transfer of radon from water to indoor air and on outdoor levels of radon in the United States. It also presents a new analysis of a biokinetic model developed to determine the risks posed by ingestion of radon and reviews inhalation risks and the carcinogenesis process. The volume includes scenarios for quantifying the reduction in health risk that might be achieved by a program to reduce public exposure to radon.

Risk Assessment of Radon in Drinking Water, reflecting research and analysis mandated by 1996 amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act, provides comment on a variety of methods to reduce radon entry into homes and to reduce the concentrations of radon in indoor air and in water. The models, analysis, and reviews of literature contained in this book are intended to provide information that EPA will need to set a new maximum contaminant level, as it is required to do in 2000.

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