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Radon Can Pose Bigger Cancer Risk for Children - UN Study

Infants and children can be more at risk than adults of developing some cancers when exposed to radiation, for example from nuclear accidents, a U.N. scientific report said on Friday.

Children were found to be more sensitive than adults for the development of 25 percent of tumor types including leukemia, and thyroid, brain and breast cancer, it said.

"The risk can be significantly higher, depending on circumstances," the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) added in a statement.

UNSCEAR said it began working on the report in 2011, the same year as Japan's Fukushima nuclear accident, although the world's worst such disaster in 25 years was not mentioned in the statement. The committee said in May that cancer rates were not expected to rise after the Fukushima accident.

UN Identifies Medical Use of Radiation as Main Source of Human Exposure to Radiation

The use of radiation in medicine accounts for most human exposure to ionizing radiation, according to a report issued today by the United Nations scientific committee on the effects of atomic radiation.

“Medical exposures account for 98 per cent of the contribution from all artificial sources and are now the second largest contributor to the population dose worldwide, representing approximately 20 percent of the total,” the UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) said in a summary of the report to the UN General Assembly.

Radiation produces toxic free radicals when absorbed by the body. Exposure to high levels can cause substantial damage to human body tissues, and may lead to death. Prolonged exposure to lower levels is also associated with an increased risk of ill-health.

U.N. report pinpoints cancer risk from radon in homes

VIENNA (Reuters) - New studies have found direct evidence of a lung cancer risk from the presence of colorless, odorless radon gas in many homes, a United Nations committee said in a report released Tuesday. Officials on the U.N. Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) said the finding provided the first quantifiable evidence of the risk in homes from radon, long seen as a potential health risk.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and other agencies were revising recommendations on maximum levels of radon in homes and workplaces based on the 20 studies involving tens of thousands of lung cancer patients in North America, Europe and China.

"(Up to now) radon has been a typical health risk no one wants to accept or take note of," Wolfgang Weiss, UNSCEAR's vice chairman, told a news conference.

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