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Vermont Addresses Radon and Lung Cancer Risk

by Margaret Henderson

Vermont’s Healthy Homes website includes a video on one Vermont resident who lost her mother to lung cancer, likely caused by high radon levels in the home as found by testing the home after her mother’s passing at the suggestion of her physician. She encourages everyone to test their homes because it can “save your life.” http://www.healthvermont.gov/radon

One in eight homes in Vermont is anticipated to have elevated radon levels. To encourage awareness of radon hazards and testing, Vermont presents radon test results in an analytical tool that includes information on the percent of smokers in Vermont.

Vermont Radon, Smoking and Lung Cancer Data Explorer gives the percent of elevated radon tests (compared with state average) in a bar chart correlated to the sub-county area and a notation of whether or not it is statistically significant. For instance, Bennington County Central has a statistically significant finding with 27% elevated radon tests. (Statewide is 11.8%.) The data range is 1993-2012. Results are mapped as well. A second column notes the percent of smokers in the corresponding regions.

The information is presented in an effort to raise awareness to radon hazards and particularly for smokers because smoking increases the risk of getting radon-induced lung cancer by 8 times, according to the notes about the data. https://apps.health.vermont.gov/vttracking/RSLC1/VT_EPHT_RadonSmokingLungCancer_DataNotes_final.htm

Data come from the Vermont Environmental Public Health Tracking Program, Vermont Department of Health Radon Indoor Air Program, Vermont Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, and the Vermont Cancer Registry.

To see the Explorer, visit

https://apps.health.vermont.gov/vttracking/RSLC1/?indicator=i2&indicator2=i1

For more information on radon in Vermont:

Call 800-439-8550 (toll-free in Vermont)
Emailing radon@vermont.gov