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Expert statements from the BfS on national and international research topics

National and international research covers questions which are significant for radiation protection. The BfS issues statements on selected topics.

Does radon exposure increase skin cancer risk?

Radon and its progeny can cause lung cancer. This association has first been observed in studies on underground miners exposed to high radon concentrations. Later studies on the general population have provided convincing evidence that long-term residential radon exposure also increases the risk of lung cancer. Up to now, other health effects of radon have not been consistently demonstrated. Recently, scientists from the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) found a statistically significant association between mortality from malignant melanoma and radon exposure at the place of residence (Vienneau et al. 2017). They claimed that their study "supports the hypothesis that radon exposure is a relevant risk factor for skin cancer" independent of UV exposure which was also modelled in their study.

Electromagnetic fields Danish mobile phone cohort study

The rapid spread of mobile phones raises questions about possible adverse health effects, especially about cancer in the head (e.g. brain tumours, eye tumours, acoustic neuroma) as the exposure to electromagnetic fields in this area is the highest. Previous studies do not provide reliable evidence for an increased risk of cancer due to mobile phone use. However, the short observation periods (periods between the first use of a mobile phone and potential tumour diagnoses) limit the conclusions that can be drawn from these studies.

Electromagnetic fields Conclusions of the INTERPHONE international case-control study

The rapid increase in mobile telephone use has led to general concerns about possible detrimental health risks that may be related to the radio-frequency (RF) electromagnetic fields generated by this technology. The INTERPHONE international case-control study on the risk of brain tumour incidence in relation to mobile telephone usage was initiated in 2000 by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). It involved 49 scientists extensive epidemiological data and detailed information on mobile phone usage from 13 countries (Australia, Canada,Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Norway,Sweden and the UK).

Ionising radiation How dangerous is exposure to low-dose radiation?

Protracted exposure to radiation can increase the risk of cancer and leukaemia even at low doses. This assumption is supported by the so-called INWORKS study. Based on theoretical considerations, international radiation protection systems assume that there exists no safe threshold for radiation exposure.

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