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Radon in the News

Do I Have a Radon Problem at my House?

As Homes Cozy Up For Winter, Radon Levels Can Build

With winter on the way, many people are making sure best practices are in place for a weather-tight season. The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) November 1st Soils Matter blog post explains why “home sweet home” is worth an inexpensive radon test for peace of mind through the winter months.

Nick Comerford, a professor in the soil and water science department at University of Florida, explains how radon forms. Its parent material, uranium, is found in most soil. As uranium decays, it eventually becomes radon gas. Depending on the level, radon gas can lead to health issues, including lung cancer. The risk increases if cigarette smoke and other particles are also present.

“Radon can move as a gas through the soil and enter your house through holes in the foundation.” Comerford says. “These holes might be found in places like the shower, toilet, other drains, etc. Any dust particles you have floating around your house collect radon – which you can then inhale.”

Indoor radon: What you need to know about this deadly poison

You can’t see it, smell it or taste it, but radon gas could be in your home causing serious health problems for you and your family.

Believe it or not, the EPA has ranked indoor radon as among the most serious environmental health issues today. With stakes that high, it’s time to learn more. Erlend Bolle, CTO of Airthings, manufacturer of quality radon detectors, shares the following facts.

Read more here.

Having children at home did not prompt parents to test for radon, secondhand smoke

A University of Louisville School of Nursing researcher has found that the presence of children in the home did not motivate parents to test and mitigate for radon and secondhand tobacco smoke, both of which cause lung cancer. The findings highlight a need to raise awareness on these exposure risks and their long-term impact on children.

Read more here.

Five Years Later, Radon Levels are Lingering Reminder of 2011 Louisa Earthquake

It’s been nearly five years since an earthquake hit Virginia, toppling chimneys and brick walls, cracking foundations and toppling furniture. No one was killed or seriously injured, and for many people, it’s just an exciting memory, but for some the quake may have produced a silent but dangerous problem for homeowners.

Wolfgang Hermann runs a company called Central Virginia Radon -- testing for and getting rid of a radioactive gas that comes from rocks and soil - leaking into houses and putting their residents at increased risk for lung cancer. Shortly after the Mineral earthquake, he made a surprising discovery.

“I went to a customer who had a radon monitor at home, a plug in device where they could detect, yes, after the earthquake it went up twice as much.”

And he heard of other cases where the same thing happened.

Read more here.

Health officials hope new radon map will spur home testing

The Minnesota Department of Health is promoting a new interactive statewide map of radon levels to encourage residents to test for the carcinogenic gas.

The department said about two in five homes have dangerously high radon levels. Dan Tranter, supervisor of the Health Department's radon program, said he hopes the new map will spur people to test for the gas, which is the No. 2 cause of lung cancer.

All homes should be tested for radon even where the new map suggests the overall radon threat is relatively low, Tranter said.

"There are differences between counties when you look at the map you'll see southern Minnesota [and] western Minnesota tend to have higher radon levels, but we do see high radon levels across the state," said Tranter. "Every county, every ZIP code has high radon levels. So the way the public should use this is to stimulate their interest in the subject."

Main office at Portland's Lent School closed due to high radon levels

A second round of radon testing in six rooms at four Portland schools revealed persistent very high levels of radioactive radon in the Lent School main office, so office functions have been moved to another room in the school, district officials announced late Thursday.

It is the latest in a long string of environmental safety problems revealed by officials in Oregon's largest school district this spring and summer.

Radon is an invisible, odorless gas that occurs naturally in the ground. Exposure over long periods of time can lead to lung cancer. Even when vented 24 hours a day, the Lent office gave off radon readings at three time the federal danger threshold....

Full article here: http://www.oregonlive.com/education/index.ssf/2016/06/main_office_at_portlands_lent.html

Cancer-causing radon gas shuts Portland school cafeteria

The cafeteria at Alliance High School in Northeast Portland has been closed after a second round of testing showed dangerously high levels of cancer-causing radon gas, Portland school district officials announced late Friday afternoon.

The test results indicate they were emailed to the school district on Tuesday; it was unclear why school district officials waited three days to make them public.

Alliance, a small alternative high school emphasizing professional-technical skills, is located on Northeast Alberta Street and serves about 200 students, mostly age 17 and older. Its building is the former Meek Elementary...

Read full article at he The Oregonian/OregonLive: http://www.oregonlive.com/education/index.ssf/2016/06/cancer-causing_radon_gas_shuts.html

More focus on radon safety after new study points out cancer risk

A new study should cause concern for some Morgan County residents who may be living in a home with elevated levels of radon.

A new study released last month by the American Cancer Society indicates exposure to high levels of radon could lead to increased risk of bone marrow cancer and lymph node cancer, among other types of common blood cancers.

Read and hear radio clip here at WLDS/WEAI Radio: http://wlds.com/news/more-focus-on-radon-safety-after-new-study-points-out-cancer-risk/

Study raises renewed radon concerns

A new study about the role radon might play in blood cancers is raising renewed attention for the colorless, odorless gas.

Radon occurs naturally in the atmosphere from the decay of uranium and radium in the soil. When it is able to seep in through cracks in a house’s foundation and becomes trapped, it can accumulate in levels considered dangerous to people.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has said for decades that radon is the second most frequent cause of lung cancer — behind only cigarette smoking — and is estimated to cause 21,000 lung cancer deaths a year in the U.S. Experts say it is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.

A study by the American Cancer Society now indicates exposure to high radon levels could increase the risk of hematologic cancers — common blood cancers including bone marrow and lymph node cancers.