Radon in the News
Sam Schneiderman, broker owner of Great Boston Home Team (our Monday guy) looks again at what to do about radon testing.
Last week, I mentioned a story about a radon inspection dispute that ended in court. The buyer wanted to cancel the purchase due to high radon results, but the seller refused to return the buyer’s deposit because the radon test was not performed to EPA standards.
Our vigilant readers reviewed EPA protocols and noted that a radon test done in an unfinished area does not meet EPA guidelines. A spirited discussion about the proper way to test for radon ensued, ending with sesw writing: “Surely you must be able to find an expert who can settle this matter. Otherwise, we are left to fend for ourselves on such a matter.” Good point.
The Washington City Council discussed the high radon level in the dispatch center at its meeting Wednesday night. The dispatch center was tested for radon a few weeks ago, and the results of the test were made public Tuesday. The test revealed that the first floor of the dispatch center has a radon level of 9.3 pCi/L (picoCuries per liter).
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends taking corrective measures to reduce radon levels if they are 4.0 pCi/L or above. Radon gas is the leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers. The EPA estimates that radon claimed the lives of 20,000 Americans in 2009 through lung cancer. Of these, about 2,900 were people who had never smoked.
In a phone interview Thursday, Washington County Supervisor Wes Rich said he asked the radon testers – Breathe Easy Radon Testing in Kalona – to check for the gas on the first floor. Previous radon tests were confined to the basement of the dispatch center.
OTTAWA — Canadians should have their homes checked for radon, a colourless and odourless gas that can have potentially deadly effects over time, health organizations warn.
The Canadian Medical Association, the Canadian Lung Association and Health Canada have joined forces to raise awareness about exposure to radon.
Formed by the breakdown of uranium, the naturally occurring radioactive gas is present in all soil. In the open air, radon gas is diluted to low levels and does not pose a health risk. But radon can enter a home through dirt floors, cracks in concrete, joints and basement drains; in enclosed spaces such as basements, the gas can reach levels harmful to health.
"Many Canadians are not aware of the risks from residential radon gas and what they can do to stay healthy," CMA president Dr. Jeff Turnbull said in a release Tuesday. "With winter approaching, physicians want to make sure their patients are aware of this potential health hazard."
Radon exceeding EPA limits has been discovered in Florida homes and condos. Several independent studies have concluded the source is contaminated concrete.
"You probably thought radon was only found in northern states with rocky soil, well guess again because it’s being discovered in homes and condos all over Florida," according to Kevin Dickenson, a Palm Beach real estate agent with Prudential Florida Realty.
Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer and is responsible for more deaths every year than drunk drivers, according to the EPA. Radon is a naturally occurring, odorless and colorless radioactive gas that can be found in soil, granite, concrete and water. Before you get too excited, radon is also found in the air we breathe, and depending upon where you live, it can be as high as 0.75 pCi/L (picocuries per liter) according to Air Chek, Inc.
The EPA recommends fixing your home if radon levels are 4.0 pCi/L or higher.
Canada's engineers, architects and builders will get their first look later this month at what could be major revisions to the national building code.
Canadian Consulting Engineer is reporting this week in its online newsletter that the feds will introduce 800 technical changes covering the building code, the fire code and the plumbing code on November 29.
The codes were last updated in 2005.
Some of the changes will encompass public gathering spaces such as sports arenas and stadiums, churches, lecture halls and theaters.
There are changes earthquake design, air quality, radon protection, and water conservation, among others.
Free test kits for radon – a naturally occurring radioactive gas that can build up in homes – are being offered online through the state.
“Tennesseans can check for the presence of radon in the home with a simple test,” Environment and Conservation Deputy Commissioner Paul Sloan said in an emailed announcement.
“I encourage all Tennesseans to order one of these free, easy-to-use test kits and take this important step to protect the health of your loved ones from the dangers of exposure to radon."
Radon is a naturally occurring gas that can seep into homes through cracks and openings in their foundations. It cannot be seen, tasted or smelled, but in concentrated levels, radon can pose a threat to human health.
Parts of Tennessee, including the Mid-State, have rock underlying them that releases relatively large amounts of the gas.
November is Lung Cancer Awareness month. Lung cancer kills more women than any other cancer – nearly 200 each day. Most die within a year of diagnosis. Yet lung cancer remains the “hidden” women’s cancer – little known and rarely discussed. It is the least funded cancer in terms of research dollars per death of all the major cancers.
It’s one of the only cancers where patients are routinely blamed for causing their condition. But despite lung cancer’s strong association with tobacco use, one in five women who develop the disease has never smoked.
What’s the Difference?
Lung cancer develops differently in women and men. There are sex differences in many areas of the disease, including risk factors, clinical characteristics, progression and length of survival.
• Women who have never smoked appear to be at greater risk for developing lung cancer than men who have never smoked.
• Women tend to develop lung cancer at younger ages than men.
ASHEVILLE — Lung cancer doesn't have an iconic ribbon or well-known signature color. In fact, it doesn't even have its own support group in Western North Carolina.
Yet lung cancer will take more lives this year than breast, prostate, colon and pancreatic cancers combined.
November marks Lung Cancer Awareness Month, but as many area physicians, health workers and patients have noticed, awareness is in relatively short supply. But in even shorter supply for lung cancer patients is public empathy.
In the wake of ‘Pink October's' flood of breast cancer awareness efforts, the elephant in the room is one thing that hasn't been painted pink, but remains a distinct shade of lung cancer's signature gray.
“Lung cancer certainly kills more people, but it doesn't have the sexy marketing campaign that breast cancer has had,” said Becky Pitts, a lung cancer nurse navigator at Mission Hospital, and a breast cancer survivor herself.
Almost a quarter of a million Americans will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year, and more will die from it than colon, breast and prostate cancers combined, the National Cancer Institute says. You know that if you smoke, you increase your risk of lung cancer — and, in fact, tobacco smoke causes nearly nine out of 10 cases. If you quit today, your lungs will begin to repair themselves in just two weeks; if you quit before age 50, your risk of dying in the next 15 years is cut in half. More ways to protect yourself:
Get your spouse to quit. A non-smoker who lives with a smoker has a 20% to 30% greater risk of developing lung cancer. The link between secondhand smoke and cancer is well documented. About 3,400 non-smokers die from lung cancer each year. If your spouse smokes, at minimum don't let him light up in the house; and best, help him quit (call 800-QUIT-NOW).
Laura Larsson remembers chatting with her neighbor the day a contractor was parked outside her southside Bozeman home, installing equipment to reduce its high levels of deadly radon.
The neighbor, a landlord who had four college-student tenants, scoffed about radon - an invisible, odorless gas that is the nation's second leading cause of lung cancer, after smoking tobacco.
"He said, ‘Laura, everybody in Montana has radon in their basement!'" Larsson recalled. "That was an ‘Aha' moment."
What if everybody shared his "What's the big deal?" attitude, she wondered.
"It kills 21,000 Americans a year," she said, and is especially a problem in the Rocky Mountain West. "Here's a health hazard that lots of young people are exposed to."
Larsson, 39, a Montana State University assistant professor of nursing, recently won a $350,000 research grant to find more effective ways to increase awareness and reduce radon exposure for low-income people.