Generation of estimates of risk caused by exposure to radon in the home, either from miner data or from A-bomb data, requires several scaling factors such as for dose, dose rate and radiation quality, and possible synergisms. Such scaling factors are best developed from laboratory-based studies. Two possible sources of α particles for such studies are (1) a polyenergetic spectrum, generated directly by radon and its progeny, or (2) a series of monoenergetic α particles. We compare here the results of oncogenic transformation from studies using both systems. At the Columbia University Radiological Research Accelerator Facility (RARAF), C3H 10T1/2 cells were irradiated with α particles of various energies, with defined LETs from 70 to 200 keV/μm. At Pacific Northwest Laboratory, cells from the same stock were exposed to α particles from radon gas and its progeny, which were in equilibrium with the culture medium. There was good agreement between the results of oncogenic transformation experiments using the two different exposure systems. Apart from the experimental transformation frequencies themselves, such a comparison requires (1) reliable dosimetry at both facilities and (2) estimated LET distributions for the polyenergetic α-particle irradiator. Thus this good agreement gives some confirmation to the technique which is used to fold together oncogenic transformation rates from monoenergetic α particles to yield a predicted rate for a spectrum of α particles.

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