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Coronary heart disease mortality and radon exposure in the Newfoundland fluorspar miners’ cohort, 1950–2001


Kreuzer and coworkers recently reported no association between cumulative exposure to radiation and death from cardiovascular disease in a cohort of German uranium miners. Here, we report on the relationship between cumulative exposure to radon progeny and coronary heart disease among Newfoundland fluorspar miners. Previous analyses in this cohort found elevated death rates from coronary heart disease among those with higher cumulative radon exposure. However, this finding was based on a relatively small number of deaths and was not statistically significant. Since then, the follow-up of this cohort has been extended by 10 years until the end of 2001. Among the 2,070 miners in our study, 267 died from coronary heart disease. There was no trend evident between cumulative exposure to radon and the relative risk of death from coronary heart disease (P = 0.63). This finding was unchanged after adjusting for the lifetime smoking status that was available for approximately 54% of the cohort. Similarly, the cumulative radon exposure was found to be unrelated to deaths of the circulatory system, acute myocardial infarction, and cerebrovascular disease. These findings are consistent with those recently reported by Kreuzer and colleagues. We share their view that uncontrolled confounding for other coronary heart disease risk factors hinders the interpretation of the risk estimates.

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We thank the Occupational and Environmental Health Division at Statistics Canada, in particular Lana Marjama and Dores Zuccarini, for their assistance in linking the Newfoundland fluorspar cohort to the Canadian Mortality Data Base. The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission provided funding support for this project.

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Correspondence to Paul J. Villeneuve.

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Villeneuve, P.J., Lane, R.S.D. & Morrison, H.I. Coronary heart disease mortality and radon exposure in the Newfoundland fluorspar miners’ cohort, 1950–2001. Radiat Environ Biophys 46, 291–296 (2007).

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  • Coronary Heart Disease
  • Radon
  • Cumulative Exposure
  • Thoron
  • Coronary Heart Disease Mortality