On 17 July 2017, research from the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Icahn School of Medicine came out with a report. They studied whether total background and/or radon background ionizing radiation had a correlation with Alzheimer’s disease deaths within the United States. They also took cosmic and terrestrial background radiation into consideration. Their findings?
Radon background ionizing radiation was significantly correlated with AD [Alzheimer’s disease] death rate in 50 states and the District of Columbia (r=0.467, p=0.001).
Total background ionizing radiation was also found to have a significant correlation with AD death rate in the US.
How could radon increase risk for Alzheimer’s disease?
Intranasal inhalation of radon gas could subject the rhinencephalon and hippocampus to damaging radiation that initiates AD. The damage would accumulate over time, causing age to be a powerful risk factor.
With radon gas being a significant cause of lung cancer and skin cancer, this is yet another reason to test our homes for levels of radon that are above ambient levels (0.4 pCi/L). The EPA recommends mitigation of homes with levels over 4 pCi/L, although they have an overall goal of reducing all indoor radon levels to ambient levels.
Choosing which type of radon monitor to test with? Check out our article on the benefits of continuous radon monitors.