Radon in the News
Radon gas is invisible and odorless. But it reveals itself in a deadly footprint it can leave behind -- lung cancer. In fact, exposure to radon gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer, and one in 15 homes in America is at risk from elevated levels of radon. January is National Radon Action Month and the perfect time to take action to protect you and your loved ones from this invisible killer.
Radon is a naturally occurring invisible, odorless and tasteless gas. It occurs when uranium in the soil and rock underground breaks down to form radon. As radon decays, it releases radioactive byproducts that are inhaled and can cause lung cancer. Radon enters a home through cracks in the walls, basement floors, foundations and other openings, and can build up to dangerous concentrations.
PORTLAND, Ore. -- New research shows radon gas is popping up in some surprising places.
You can't see it, taste it or smell it, but radon exists in roughly one out of every four Portland-area homes.
And it can be deadly.
At only 49 years old, Darcy White was diagnosed with lung cancer, a year after her mother died from it.
"I had a 38 percent chance of survival after five years," White explained. "And I'll be at seven years this April 7th."
After chemotherapy and surgery to remove part of her lung, White is now cancer free and on a mission to warn people about radon.
It's what her doctor believes caused her cancer.
"He said 'I believe it was radon particularly because where you were raised,'" she said.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Here is a shocking fact. The second leading cause of lung cancer is radon. In the United States, the EPA estimates that about 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year are radon related and in Canada that number stands at approximately 3,000.
Radon, a dangerous gas, is colorless, odorless, tasteless and radioactive. It is formed by the breakdown of uranium, a natural radioactive material found in soil, rock and groundwater.
Nearly 1 out of every 15 homes in the United States and Canada is estimated to have an elevated radon level. It typically moves up through the ground to the air above and into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Your home traps radon inside, where it can build up. Any home may have a radon problem - this means new and old homes, well-sealed and drafty homes, and homes with or without basements since this secret killer comes from the ground not from construction materials.
How Radon Can Get Into Your Home
You can't see it, smell it, or taste it in your home but there may be dangerous levels or radon lurking in your house.
About twenty-one thousand Americans die each year from lung cancer caused from radon. The month of January is National Radon Action month and the EPA and U.S. Surgeon General are encouraging everyone to test their homes, businesses, and schools.
"I see a lot of people with cancer. Probably once every two weeks I'm in somebody's home that has had cancer and don't have an explanation for it, in particular lung cancer and have come to find out that their radons high," said Kevin Siers, owner of KSA Radon Services.
Other prevention techniques the EPA is promoting this month are spreading the word and attending a radon awareness event in our area.
Learn more about how you can raise awareness!
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The Connecticut State Department of Public Health is urging residents to test their homes for radon gas.
Radon gas is an odorless and invisible radioactive gas and is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. Health officials estimate radon is responsible for more than 21,000 lung cancer deaths in the U.S. each year.
The DPH recommends residents test their homes for radon in the winter months because this is when it tends to build up indoors.
Residents can get a free radon testing kit by completing an online form on the DPH Radon Program website.
Kits can also be purchased from the American Lung Association of New England at 1-800-LUNG-USA or at a local hardware store.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency suggests that homes with radon levels at or above 4.0 pCi/L should be fixed. Homeowners should consider fixing homes with radon levels that are between 2 pCi/L and 4 pCi/L.
Radon is one of the scariest things that can turn up in a house. It's the second most common cause of lung cancer, after smoking, and kills an estimated 500 New Jerseyans a year, experts say.
Despite the risk, most people think about radon only when it's time to buy or sell a home, when buyers request that the house be tested for the colorless, odorless gas. But experts say homeowners should check for it even if they're not planning to move.
The remediation system travels out the roof in this Oradell home. The gas is the result of the natural breakdown of radioactive material in the ground and can be hazardous when trapped inside a house.
A remediation system traveling up through the basement floor.
"We don't want people to just wait till they're selling their home to fix radon problems," says Kevin Stewart, director of environmental health of the American Lung Association in New Jersey.
How to test a home
Believing the adage, “What you don’t know can’t kill you,” could actually contribute to your premature demise. Especially if you apply it to radon testing.
Radon causes more than 21,000 lung cancer deaths in the U.S. each year. Many of those deaths occur in Minnesota, where radon is a serious health concern.
The startling reality is that McLeod County is smack dab in the middle of a high-radon zone. We need to take radon testing seriously.
A paper done at St. John’s University a few years ago estimated between 500 and 1,000 McLeod County residents’ lives could eventually be saved from radon-related lung cancer if testing and mitigation were mandatory. The government isn’t likely to require that, so the decision to safeguard your family is yours.
Have you purchased a kit to learn if you’re at risk? Do you know that if the last time you tested was more than five years ago, it’s time to do it again?
Elevated levels of radon were found at a Rockville elementary school where parents and teachers have raised concerns in recent weeks about potential health hazards related to the odorless, colorless radioactive gas.
Montgomery County school officials have posted results from recent retesting at Fallsmead Elementary School that showed average radon levels in 14 rooms at or above the Environmental Protection Agency’s limit of 4 picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L).
School district officials said mitigation measures to reduce radon levels are being planned and that they don’t believe there is an immediate safety hazard. The highest recent reading at Fallsmead was 5.4 pCi/L, according to the report.
A letter reporting the findings was emailed to parents and staff on Dec. 11. “I am continuing to work with the appropriate offices in MCPS so that this situation is resolved promptly,” wrote Roni S. Silverstein, the school’s principal.
WASHINGTON — Parents alarmed by the news that elevated levels of radon have been found in 26 Montgomery County schools and two school system facilities say they want answers — including what remediation efforts have been carried out.
According to information supplied by the school system, some of those elevated ratings were discovered as far back as 2012.
Montgomery County Councilmember Craig Rice, who backed county legislation requiring radon testing when single family homes are sold, says he’s concerned about the findings.
“I was actually in contact with the schools back when we had originally introduced the radon legislation and was assured that testing was being done and that those levels were safe,” he said.
Rice says he now has more questions for school officials.
The Fallsmead Elementary PTA hosted a meeting Tuesday night, where officials from the school system were expected to explain the findings in the report, made public by the Parents Coalition.
Last month, the American Lung Association took a significant step in the national fight against the second leading risk factor for lung cancer: radon. We've been battling radon for decades, but now we have a renewed commitment under a new plan.
The American Lung Association led the development of the National Radon Action Plan: A Strategy for Saving Lives, working with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and eight other national partners. The plan sets out strategies to drive the changes needed to reduce exposure to radon, a naturally occurring, invisible and odorless gas that causes an estimated 21,000 lung cancer deaths annually.