The World Health Organization (WHO), the National Academy of Sciences, the US Department of Health and Human Services, as well as EPA, have classified radon as a known human carcinogen, because of the wealth of biological and epidemiological evidence and data showing the connection between exposure to radon and lung cancer in humans.
There have been many studies conducted by many different organizations in many nations around the world to examine the relationship of radon exposure and human lung cancer. The largest and most recent of these was an international study, led by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), which examined the data on 68,000 underground miners who were exposed to a wide range of radon levels. The studies of miners are very useful because the subjects are humans, not rats, as in many cancer research studies. These miners are dying of lung cancer at 5 times the rate expected for the general population. Over many years scientists around the world have conducted exhaustive research to verify the cause-effect relationship between radon exposure and the observed increased lung cancer deaths in these miners and to eliminate other possible causes.
In addition, there is an overlap between radon exposures received by miners who got lung cancer and the exposures people would receive over their lifetime in a home at EPA's action level of 4 pCi/L (picocuries per liter of air), i.e., the lung cancer risk in miners has been documented at exposure levels comparable to those which occur in homes/residences.
Read more about the health risks of radon.
Learn more about radon at the radon homepage.