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I read the article about indoor radon with great interest and noted that the topic was comprehensively dealt with: in addition to health political aspects, construction interventions, and political necessities—such as a radon protection law—were mentioned. About a month after the manuscript had been accepted the World Health Organization published a handbook on the topic (1), in which a reference value of 100 Bq/m3 is recommended, as it is justified from an epidemiological perspective. Deutsches Ärzteblatt reported this on 22 September 2009 (2).

The International Radon Project, which started in 2005 and includes more than 100 radon experts and scientists from almost 40 member states, WHO is trying to create awareness for the problems associated with radon. WHO is particularly interested in informing those in positions of political responsibility about the health effects of long term radon exposure, so as to drive forward the implementation of the necessary legal framework conditions at the national level. Additionally, specific professional groups, such as building professionals, need to be addressed, because by means of modified building techniques and interventions they are able to influence the concentrations of radon in residential dwellings. Finally, the medical community needs to be included in these efforts to be able to inform about existing health risks due to radon. For these reasons I think that the article was excellent.

DOI: 10.3238/arztebl.2010.0731b

Dr. P. H. Ferid Shannoun
Department of Public Health and Environment
World Health Organization (WHO)
20 Avenue Appia
CH-1211 Geneva 27
Switzerland
shannounf@who.int

Conflict of interest statement
The author declares that no conflict of interest exists according to the guidelines of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors.

1.
WHO handbook on indoor radon: a public health perspective: (eds.) Zeeb H, Shannoun F, WHO, Geneva, 2009.
3.
Schmid K, Kuwert T, Drexler H: Radon in indoor spaces—An underestimated risk factor for lung cancer in environmental medicine
[Radon in Innenräumen: Ein in der umweltmedizinischen Diskussion unterschätzter Risikofaktor für Lungenkrebs]. Dtsch Arztebl Int 2010; 107(11): 181–6. VOLLTEXT
1. WHO handbook on indoor radon: a public health perspective: (eds.) Zeeb H, Shannoun F, WHO, Geneva, 2009.
2. Neue WHO-Referenzwerte für Radon in Wohnungen
3.Schmid K, Kuwert T, Drexler H: Radon in indoor spaces—An underestimated risk factor for lung cancer in environmental medicine
[Radon in Innenräumen: Ein in der umweltmedizinischen Diskussion unterschätzter Risikofaktor für Lungenkrebs]. Dtsch Arztebl Int 2010; 107(11): 181–6. VOLLTEXT