January is National Radon Awareness Month

National Radon Map

Courtesy: RadonMonth.org

Many of us are aware that lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death in humans, for both men and women.  Many people associate smoking with lung cancer.  However, there is another lung cancer-causing killer out there: radon.

You can’t see, smell, or taste radon, but it could be present at a dangerous level in your home. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer deaths among nonsmokers in America and claims the lives of about 20,000 Americans each year, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.

In fact, the US EPA and the U.S. Surgeon General urge all Americans to have their homes tested for radon. Exposure to radon is a preventable health risk, and testing radon levels in your home can help prevent unnecessary exposure. If a high radon level is detected in your home, you can take steps to fix the problem to protect yourself and your family.

Radon is an odorless, tasteless and invisible gas produced by the decay of naturally occurring uranium in soil and water. Radon is a form of ionizing radiation and a proven carcinogen. Lung cancer is the only known effect on human health from exposure to radon in the air. Currently, there is no evidence that children are at greater risk of lung cancer than are adults.

Things you can do during National Radon Action Month

  • Purchase a Radon test kit and test your home — EPA and the U.S. Surgeon General recommend that all homes in the U.S. be tested for radon. Testing is easy and inexpensive. Learn more about testing your home, including how to obtain an easy-to-use test kit.
  • Send the kit to the appropriate sources to determine the test results and see what kind of radon levels you have.
  • Make any necessary repairs or installations in your home to reduce unhealthy radon levels.
  • Attend a National Radon Action Month event in your area — Look for radon events in your community. Contact your state radon program for more information about local radon activities.
  • Spread the word. Spend time during National Radon Action Month encouraging others to learn about radon and test their homes.
  • If you are considering buying a new home, look for builders who use radon-resistant new construction.

Sources:

1. January is National Radon Action Month.  United States Environmental Protection Agency.  Last updated December 11, 2012

2. Radon in the Home.  United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

3. A Citizen’s Guide to Radon.  United States Environmental Protection Agency.  Last updated July 23, 2012

4. EPA Designates January as National Radon Action Month.  Vinton County Courier, McArthur, OH.  January 1, 2013

5. National Radon Month, January, 2013. RadonMonth.org. January 3, 2013