Radon in the News
Home sweet home, this American saying might not hold true anymore, especially in terms of health concerns with modern lifestyle. Some health hazards are present right in the comforts of your home. It’s critical to recognize them. Three major areas that involve cancer-causing substances (i.e. carcinogens) include:
1. Smoking and passive smoke
2. Radon gas
3. Personal care and household products
Smoking is a primary risk factor of lung cancer. Also, smoking aggravates cardiovascular diseases and is causally linked with the development of cancer of the bladder, colon, pancreas, and upper digestive system. Individuals who smoke or are exposed to secondhand smoke have a higher risk of suffering from cancer due to carcinogens present in cigarette smoke.
Radioactivity in drinking water is more widespread in New Jersey than previously reported, according to well-testing data and a state report.
More than one-third of private wells tested in some South Jersey communities exceed recommended levels of radiological contaminants. In Mantua in Gloucester County, the figure was 100 percent.
The state Department of Environmental Protection compiled the data from 2002-2007, the first five years of the state Private Well Testing Act. That requires well analyses as part of real-estate sales.
In the coastal plan, an average of 10.7 percent of private wells exceeded the standards, according to the DEP numbers.
Last year, DEP's Drinking Water Quality Institute proposed radon regulations be extended beyond the current standards for indoor air quality. While air represents the riskiest exposure, radon in water also contributes to the hazard, according to the report.
BREAD SPRINGS, NM — What you don’t see CAN hurt you. Like radon — a colorless, odorless radioactive gas that can lead to lung cancer as a result of long-term exposure.
Last week, 25 trainees from Head Start, Indian Health Service, Navajo Nation Facility Maintenance and Employee Housing received radon mitigation training at Bread Springs Head Start, or Baa Haa Li Olta Yazhi, for the pilot project.
For the 33 trapped Chilean miners potentially facing months in crammed quarters, their immediate health may be threatened by the air quality in the chamber and the limited ability to move, which can lead to blood clots. But even without such catastrophes, miners contend with many daily health dangers from working around dust, heavy metals, hazardous gases, fumes and loud noises.
Listed as the most dangerous industry for workers until 2001, mining is now outranked by industrial fishing, roofing and aircraft-related occupations, among others, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) attributes this improvement to the mining industry's increasing "culture of prevention," which includes stronger regulations, safer machinery and more education and training initiatives in the last 25 years.
ATLANTA (MyFOX ATLANTA) – Radon is all around in homes, schools and businesses. The gas is colorless, odorless and tasteless and can become a silent killer.
Emerson Brooking spent most of his life growing up in his family's north Georgia home, which was riddled with radon.
"I'm much more at risk for cancer now because of this odorless, colorless gas," said Brooking.
Brooking's father blamed himself for his son's exposure to the dangerous gas.
"I definitely didn’t intend to gas my whole family with radioactive gas," said the elder Brooking.
"The fact of the matter is a great many homes in north Georgia have elevated radon levels," said radon expert Terry Howell.
Q: Our daughter's family (with a 2-year-old and a 10-day-old) just rented a home in Tacoma, Wash., that was built in 1920. It was recently remodeled, except the basement. The basement is dry, but the kids will spend playtime down there on rainy days. Should they be concerned about radon?
A:We should all be concerned about radon gas in our homes, and all homes should be checked. Radon is a colorless, odorless, naturally occurring radioactive gas, the result of the decay of radium in the soils. Radon is a known health hazard, estimated by the Environmental Protection Agency to be the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, responsible for 20,000 deaths each year.
Radon gas is the leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers. That is one reason the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has declared that next week is “National Radon Awareness Week.” The EPA estimates that radon claimed the lives of 20,000 Americans in 2009 via lung cancer. Of these, about 2,900 were people who had never smoked.
Radon is a naturally occurring gas that is both colorless and odorless. It is produced by the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water. When radon decays into radioactive solids, it can attach to dust particles that find their way into unsuspecting lungs.
The EPA rates counties’ radon levels as high, moderate and low. Every county in Iowa is listed as high. Rick Welke, radon program manager at the Iowa Department of Public Health, explained that Iowa has the highest percentage of homes at risk of radon contamination in the country. He said the reason for that is found in Iowa’s geology.
American Lung Association Releases Report on Lung Cancer in African Americans: Calls for Eliminating Health Disparities
WASHINGTON, April 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Lung Association today released its report, Too Many Cases, Too Many Deaths: Lung Cancer in African Americans, a compilation of research examining lung cancer among African Americans and the need to eliminate this and other health disparities. The report, which includes a preface by William J. Hicks, M.D., provides important information on the possible biological, environmental, political and cultural factors that make African Americans more likely to get lung cancer and more likely to die from it.
Lung cancer is the number one cancer killer in the nation. It has been the leading cause of cancer death among men since the early 1950s, and in 1987 it surpassed breast cancer as the leading cause of cancer deaths among women. African Americans, however, suffer from lung cancer more than any other population group in the United States. Key facts regarding this disparity include the following:
Q - After 14 years of using our finished basement rec room on a daily basis, I have discovered the presence of radon gas. The level ranges between 6 and 7. To disassemble the room is far too costly on our retirement income. Recent lung X-rays are OK, so what is our risk of cancer after all these years of daily exposure?
A - Radon is a radioactive gas that comes from the breakdown of uranium. It is found in almost all soils and permeates the air we breathe.
It moves through the ground and into buildings and water supplies through cracks or holes in foundations and solid floors, through gaps in suspended flooring, around service pipes and through walls.
It can enter through well water. Once inside a building, the radon is trapped and builds up to unhealthy levels. It can be found in schools, offices, homes and public buildings.
Radon can't be seen, tasted or smelled, yet reports indicate it causes lung cancer, killing thousands of people every year.
The American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists (AARST) has released a Position Statement on Granite Countertops and Radon Gas. The Statement is available here.