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Radon Information

Radon is a cancer-causing natural radioactive gas that you can’t see, smell or taste. Its presence in your home can pose a danger to your family’s health. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in America and claims about 20,000 lives annually. EPA has launched a new series of television, radio and print public service announcements encouraging people to test and fix their homes for radon. This is a good time to focus on testing and on fixing homes with a radon level of 4 pCi/L or more. Heed the Surgeon General’s warning. Take action now to reduce your family’s risk of lung cancer from radon!

Health Risks

  • Lung cancer kills thousands of Americans every year. The untimely deaths of Peter Jennings and Dana Reeve have raised public awareness about lung cancer, especially among people who have never smoked. Smoking, radon, and secondhand smoke are the leading causes of lung cancer. Although lung cancer can be treated, the survival rate is one of the lowest for those with cancer. From the time of diagnosis, between 11 and 15 percent of those afflicted will live beyond five years, depending upon demographic factors. In many cases lung cancer can be prevented; this is especially true for radon.
  • Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer. Smoking causes an estimated 160,000* deaths in the U.S. every year (American Cancer Society, 2004). And the rate among women is rising. On January 11, 1964, Dr. Luther L. Terry, then U.S. Surgeon General, issued the first warning on the link between smoking and lung cancer. Lung cancer now surpasses breast cancer as the number one cause of death among women. A smoker who is also exposed to radon has a much higher risk of lung cancer.
  • Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, according to EPA estimates. Overall, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Radon is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year. About 2,900 of these deaths occur among people who have never smoked. On January 13, 2005, Dr. Richard H. Carmona, the U.S. Surgeon General, issued a national health advisory on radon. Visit http://www.cheec.uiowa.edu/misc/radon.html for more on a study by Dr. William Field on radon-related lung cancer in women.
  • Secondhand smoke is the third leading cause of lung cancer and responsible for an estimated 3,000 lung cancer deaths every year. About 1,000 of these are people that never smoked, and about 2,000 are former smokers. Smoking affects non-smokers by exposing them to secondhand smoke. Exposure to secondhand smoke can have serious consequences for children’s health, including asthma attacks, affecting the respiratory tract (bronchitis, pneumonia), and may cause ear infections.

Learning more about lung cancer – The following sources provide a wide range of good information about lung cancer, prevention, and treatment:

Studies Find Direct Evidence Linking Radon in Homes to Lung Cancer – Two studies show definitive evidence of an association between residential radon exposure and lung cancer. Two studies, a North American study and a European study, both combined data from several previous residential studies. These two studies go a step beyond earlier findings. They confirm the radon health risks predicted by occupational studies of underground miner’s who breathed radon for a period of years. Early in the debate about radon-related risks, some researchers questioned whether occupational studies could be used to calculate risks from exposure to radon in the home environment. “These findings effectively end any doubts about the risks to Americans of having radon in their homes,” said Tom Kelly, Director of EPA’s Indoor Environments Division. “We know that radon is a carcinogen. This research confirms that breathing low levels of radon can lead to lung cancer.”

Testing for Radon in your home or office

Environmental Analytics can test your home or office for radon to determine if your indoor environment meets or exceeds EPA action levels. Call 520.290.6653 for any questions or to set up an appointment.

* The information provided above is referenced from http://www.epa.gov/radon

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