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Radon in the News

A Silent Killer: Video and Article

Watch the CBS 42 news segment.

There's a killer lurking in and around your home and you may not even know it. Dead bolts and window locks are no match; in fact you could be in danger right now!

That killer is Radon, a radioactive gas. It's a deadly by-product of decaying Uranium in the ground.

How deadly? Consider this; Radon is responsible for more than 20,000 lung cancer deaths every year. Claiming more lives annually than drunk driving and house fires, combined!

According to the surgeon general, Radon exposure is second only to smoking as the leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. Scary! When you consider more people who've never touched a cigarette are developing lung cancer. According to Dr. Veena Antony for those who do smoke Radon only increases their risk of getting it.

Hollywood Student Honored for Radon Poster

Logan Stewart, an eighth-grader at the Hollywood Academy of Arts & Science, recently won an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., after winning a national radon poster contest.

Stewart, who competed against 4,000 students from 33 states, especially enjoyed touring the Lincoln Memorial, the Smithsonian and the Washington Monument.

"I didn't expect to win, but I worked real hard on the poster, and I am glad that I got awarded for it," she said. "I had a lot of fun working on it. "

"It's an honor for the school," said Principal Donte' Fulton. "We are very proud of her and her teachers who have been coaching her."

The annual poster contest, sponsored by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, aims to educate students, their parents and others about the dangers of radon, a toxic gas.

Radon Exposure Help Sought

Harrisburg, Ill. —

State Rep. Brandon Phelps (D-Harrisburg) is sponsoring legislation that will help ensure healthier radon-free living standards for renters here in the state of Illinois.

"I feel that it is very important that those who choose to rent here in Illinois are covered by safeguards much like this, so tenants will not have to worry about their health and complications that could arise as a result of renting an apartment or house that might be contaminated with radon," said Phelps.

"This measure is not about requiring more regulations and standards to burden landlords, but more importantly, it is about the safety this measure will provide for both parties involved when they enter any lease agreement."

Test to Find Out Radon Levels, Get Lowered by Certified Mitigator

Some areas have higher concentration potential than others, but homes with elevated radon concentrations have been found in every county in Nevada.

Any building with contact to the soil can have a radon problem because radon comes from the decay of uranium, which can be found in rock and soil underneath our homes, offices and schools.

The good news is that radon levels are easy to test for and high levels can be lowered by a certified mitigator.

Results collected since 1989 show that about one in four Nevada homes have elevated radon levels, yet many homeowners have not tested for radon. This might be because radon is an odorless, colorless, invisible gas and there are no immediate adverse, visible effects.

Radon gas quietly enters homes through cracks in the floor, construction joints and gaps around service pipes.

5 Questions About Radon: a Q&A with PA Radon Program Manager

NAME: Robert K. Lewis
TITLE: Program manager, radon division
COMPANY: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
YEARS IN FIELD: 25

Q: What is radon gas, and how does it get into homes?

A: Radon is a naturally occurring, radioactive gas, arising from the breakdown of uranium that is found distributed in the soil and rocks of the earth’s crust.

Pennsylvania is particularly prone to radon problems compared with much of the rest of the country. This is due to our geology and soil characteristics.

Breathing a Sigh of Relief: Reducing Indoor Air Pollution

Is the air in your home making you sick? After a recent sinus infection, I began to re-evaluate the quality of the air inside my home. According to an oft-cited statistic from the American Lung Association, Americans spend an average of 90 percent of their time indoors, yet the air inside our homes can be two to five times more polluted than the air outdoors.

Here are some suggestions for reducing indoor air pollution that will have your lungs breathing a sigh of relief.

Dust Mites

Dust mites are nasty-looking creatures that are a frequent contributor to allergies and asthma attacks. Measuring only 1/100th of an inch, they resemble microscopic insects with eight legs and no wings or antennae. Because mites consume dead skin cells, they tend to congregate in our bedding, carpets, rugs and furniture. According to Dustmites.org, "Densities of dust mites in the typical used mattress can range from 100,000 to 10 million individual mites."

Video: EPA's Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation Tells Her Personal Radon Story

Video: EPA's Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation Tells Her Personal Radon Story

Janet McCabe, Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation at EPA, talks about her personal radon experience.

Watch the video.

Read the full transcript.

About the House: How Radon Finds its Way into Our Homes

Rob Kinsey has been a licensed builder for 25 years and is a home inspector with more than 15 years of experience.

Sturgis, Mich. — Last week’s column addressed the issue of radon testing. It pointed out that radon is considered to be the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. What it didn’t give was much information about radon itself.

Radon is a silent killer. It relies on stealth, and apathy. By its nature, it is silent. And, as I noted last week, it is immune to detection by our five senses. It’s invisible, patient and relies on us doing nothing. Essentially it uses the adage, out of sight, out of mind.

Radon is a naturally occurring gas. It comes from the breakdown of uranium deep within the ground. Please do not ask me how a rock can break down into other things and along the line become a deadly gas. That science is advanced well beyond my education. But then again so is chemistry and flying through space — yet I believe in them.

Utah Homes Have Higher Level of Radon Gas Than National Average

SALT LAKE CITY - In the United States nearly 1 in 15 homes are estimated to have elevated levels of radon. In Utah, one in three homes tests high. The Utah Safety Council is urging Utahns to test their homes for radon.

Radon is a naturally occurring, odorless, tasteless, radioactive gas produced by the breakdown of uranium in rocks and soil. Radon enters homes and buildings through cracks and other openings surrounded by soil. Radon is not dangerous when diluted by outdoor air, but when trapped inside a home or building it can build to dangerous levels.

Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. An estimated 21,000 people die each year from radon-related cancer. After being inhaled, radon gas decays into radioactive particles. As the particles break down in the lungs they release small bursts of energy that can damage sensitive lung tissue and lead to lung cancer.

'I Was Very Confident In My Ignorance:' Woman Whose Husband Died From Radon-Related Cancer Now Works To Inform Others

'I Was Very Confident In My Ignorance:' Woman Whose Husband Died From Radon-Related Cancer Now Works To Inform Others

Gloria Linnertz had no idea that a silent killer was lurking in her Waterloo home.

Her husband, Joe, went to the doctor in late 2005 because his liver enzymes were elevated. After a series of tests, an oncologist informed the couple that Joe had stage IV lung cancer with only weeks to live.

“When we asked the oncologist what could have caused Joe’s cancer, he said known causes of lung cancer are tobacco and radon gas. My husband hadn’t smoked in 27 years and led a healthy lifestyle,” Linnertz said.

But their home harbored dangerous levels of radon, which Linnertz maintains was responsible for her husband’s death.

“We had no idea that we were living with over four times the EPA radon action level in our home for 18 years. I didn’t know that until one month after Joe’s death. He died six weeks after he was diagnosed,” she said. Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that comes from radioactive decay in the soil. The gas is colorless, odorless and tasteless.