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Radon in the News

Move over, bacon — lots of other things also cause cancer

On Monday, the France-based International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) came out with the strongest findings yet that processed meat (like bacon and ham) causes colorectal cancer in humans.
The agency also found that red meat (beef, lamb, etc.) may increase your risk of developing the same type of cancer.

Americans have a 1 in 20 chance of developing it within their lifetime, and the disease is expected to cause about 49,000 deaths this year.
So, how does eating bacon and other deliciously salty processed meats shape up in terms of overall cancer risk?

Click here to learn about things you can avoid to reduce your risk of developing cancer.

High radon levels in Iowa homes 'surprise' University of Iowa researchers

IOWA CITY, Iowa — You can't see it, you can't smell it, but it causes cancer. It's radon, and a recent study by the University of Iowa suggests it can be found at higher than recommended levels in many Iowa homes.

Radon is a naturally-occurring radioactive gas caused by the uranium in the Earth's crust. It can be found in concentrated levels, often in the lower levels of homes. According to state officials, it's the second leading cause of lung cancer in the nation.

The UI study was conducted in 2013 and published last month. Researchers tested more than 350 homes in the small northwest Iowa town of Akron.

Learn more here.

Bel Air Tests for Radon in Town Hall after Employees Express Concerns

Bel Air town officials have ruled out the carcinogenic radon gas as a source of the health concerns of some town employees after testing showed levels in the bottom level Town Hall do not exceed the outdoor concentration of radon.

"I'm happy to report we're way, way below any kind of a problem area," Public Works Director Steve Kline told town officials during a recent work session.

Some town employees had expressed their concerns about health risks related to radon, a radioactive gas known to cause lung cancer, especially after deaths of employees in recent years.

"There's been some concern that some of the problems downstairs, health-wise, might be as a result of a radon problem," Kline said, referring to the lower level of the building where police department operations are located.

Radon Awareness Week in the City of Fort Collins

The City of Fort Collins encourages residents to test the radon levels in their homes as Radon Awareness Week approaches starting October 19. Radon is a colorless, odorless, naturally-occurring gas associated with serious health concerns such as cancer.

The City offers zero-interest loans to assist with mitigation costs when radon is present. The loans range from $1,000 – $3,000 and can assist with up to 90 percent of the costs associated with radon mitigation. Radon tests must be completed prior to applying for these loans. More information about air quality loans may be found at http://www.fcgov.com/airquality/loan.php.

Additionally, radon test kits are part of the City’s Healthy Homes free in-home air quality assessments. To schedule an assessment, go to www.fcgov.com/healthyhomes.

Read more here.

Students Invited to Make Radon Posters

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension invites Nevada students to showcase their artistic talents and promote radon awareness by entering the Nevada Radon Poster Contest.

The contest is open to all children ages 9 to 14 years old enrolled in public, private, territorial, tribal, Department of Defense and home schools. Children can also enter through a sponsoring group, such as art, computer, library, reading, science, scouting, youth or 4-H clubs.

Radon is a radioactive, colorless, odorless and tasteless gas that comes from the decay of uranium. It accumulates in homes and can cause lung cancer. This type of lung cancer risk is preventable, and the only way to know if a home has elevated levels is to test for it.

Drought can increase radon gas risks

The severe drought baking some parts of the United States—particularly California and the Pacific Northwest—may be increasing the risk of radon gas inside homes.

s water tables drop in some areas, lower depths that can contain uranium and radon are exposed, according to experts. As the uranium ore decays over time, it produces radon, a radioactive gas that has been linked to lung cancer.

"What happens in drought conditions is the aquifers are getting lower and lower and exposing more bedrock and more uranium," said James Connell of A1 Radon in Olathe, Kansas. "Cracks in the ground and cracks in people's foundations allow those radon gases to come up."

Jeanne Case, who lives just outside Portland, Oregon, recently tested for radon at her home and it showed levels three times the safe limit. "It never even occurred to me ... I was so convinced we didn't have it," Case told NBC Portland affiliate KGW-TV.

Hot, Dry Summer may Increase Radon Flow in Your Home

The unusually hot, dry summer is increasing more than just the wildfire danger.

Some experts say it may be increasing the amount of radon gas inside your home.

Radon is a naturally occurring gas that comes from the earth. You can’t see it or smell it, but it is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers.

And while experts say we usually see increased levels of the gas in homes in the wintertime, the dry conditions this summer may also be channeling radon into homes.

“You get drier soils under houses and buildings and that can open up channels, of course dry soils are more porous than damp soil so you can actually have a stronger flow of radon under a building up into it,” said Steve Tucker with Cascade Radon.

Tucker also says opening upstairs windows to bring in the fresh air, something a lot of people do in the summer, can also increase the flow of radon into a home.

That's because radon is driven by both air flow and air pressure inside a home.

Is detection of radon a reason to cancel a home sale?

A home buyer recently wrote to the Washington Post about how, in their professional home inspection, the inspector found they had a faulty garage door and high levels of radon. It was advised that they cancel the contract based on the garage door. But instead of focusing on an early repairable garage door, wouldn’t the high radon levels have also enabled the buyers to cancel the sale?

Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that permeates through the ground in some areas. If you breathe in too much of it, it can cause a lot of physical problems, especially in young children, who may experience all sorts of physical and developmental issues.

Professional home inspectors don’t generally test for radon, but almost every home buyer should have a test done. These tests often include leaving some sort of collection device at the home for a short period of time and then sending the device to a lab to have the results read.

A New Radon Action Plan is Being Developed: But It Won’t Work Unless We All Get Involved

After nearly 30 years of operating since the passage of the 1988 Indoor Radon Abatement Act, AARST has routinely notified policy makers that more Americans may be at risk from radon than ever before, despite years of government, non-government and industry effort to address radon risk reduction. In 2010, nine federal agencies came together to develop the Federal Radon Action Plan and to launch more than 30 new projects that promote radon action through three approaches:
• Testing for and mitigating high radon in buildings using professional radon services.
• Providing financial incentives and direct support where needed for radon risk reduction.
• Demonstrating the importance, feasibility and value of radon risk reduction.

Keny-Guyer Wins Resounding Approval for Radon Testing in Schools

The House voted 54-4 on Wednesday on a bill to get all schools in Oregon to test for radon by 2021.

House Bill 2931 will start the process by ordering the Oregon Health Authority to share its public health advice with schools about the hazards regarding radon. Each school district will then have to develop a plan for testing for the deadly element, and do so by the beginning of 2021.

“Radon is an odorless and invisible gas that seeps up through rock,” said Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer, D-Portland, the bill’s chief sponsor. “It’s the second-leading cause of lung cancer. … We want all schools to go through a testing process if they haven’t done so in the last 10 years.”

Radon is a naturally occurring gaseous element that leaks up from the ground in sporadic pockets across the state, from Scappoose to La Grande and east Portland to Salem. Radon inhalation kills 21,000 Americans each year. It is the easiest way to get lung cancer for non-smokers.