Epidemiological studies have established an association between exposure to radon and carcinoma of the lung. However, based on data for either lung cancer in uranium miners exposed to radon or bronchial epithelial carcinomas in Japanese A-bomb survivors, it has not been possible to assign estimates of risk of lung cancer for the general population exposed to radon in their homes. Based on past success with the excellent quantitative properties of the C3H 10T1/2 in vitro oncogenic transformation assay system, the relative biological effectiveness (RBE) for radiation-induced transformation for charged particles of defined LET has been determined. As the LET of the radiation was increased, the rate of induction of oncogenic transformation increased and the${\rm RBE}_{{\rm m}}$ approached 20. At higher LETs, RBE dropped precipitously. The rapid drop in effectiveness for α particles with LETs between 120 and 265 keV/μm implies a lower quality factor than the 20-25 currently considered appropriate when estimating lung cancer mortality.

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