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Radon in the News

Radon Action Month in Illinois: What Are the Levels in Your Home?

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Radon is the most significant health risk homeowners face, and this month state leaders are encouraging residents to test their homes for the dangerous gas.

According to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, nearly 1,200 citizens die annually from radon-related lung cancer. Patrick Daniels, radon program manager at the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, says now is the best time of the year to check the radon levels inside a home.

"We want to test homes under what we call 'closed house conditions,'" says Daniels. "Being as cold as it is we tend to keep our windows and doors shut and homes closed up and pretty tight so it just makes it a good time to test."

Test kits range in price from $10 to $30, and can be purchased at a local hardware store or online. Daniels says it's recommended that homeowners who are involved in a real estate transaction hire a licensed professional to test the home for radon.

Georgia State Professors Awarded $300,000 to Study Environmental Health Disparities, Including Radon

Researchers at the School of Public Health at Georgia State University have received a $300,000 grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities to examine ways to reduce heat-related illnesses and death during extreme heat and reduce radon exposure in environmental metro Atlanta.

Dr. Dajun Dai, an assistant professor in Geosciences, will head up the radon study and will work with the DeKalb County Health Department to identify which communities in Georgia’s third most populous county are at the greatest risk for radon exposure.Radon is a cancer-causing, radioactive gas that comes from the soil breaking down and is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The grant will help pay for radon testing machines that will be used to sample 200 homes in DeKalb County.

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Radon No. 1 Lung Cancer Cause in Nonsmokers

There could be a radioactive gas in your home that causes lung cancer and you wouldn’t even know it’s there.

Lung cancer kills more individuals than any other cancer and radon is estimated to cause 21,000 of those deaths each year in the U.S. Radon is a deadly, naturally occurring radioactive gas that is a health issue in Nevada, as well as worldwide. Once diagnosed with lung cancer, there is only a 15 percent five-year survival rate.

Radon gas is the leading cause of lung cancer for those who do not smoke. Smokers who are exposed to elevated levels of radon have an even greater chance of getting lung cancer.

However, radon-caused lung cancer is preventable through testing and mitigation.

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Radon 101

Basically, the radon in the air around us is continually decaying into these radon decay products which give off all the same types of radiation as plutonium, americium and uranium. These radon decay products in the air have a relatively high probability of not only decaying when in your lungs but also to a lesser extent be absorbed through the alveoli in your lungs to get passed into your bloodstream.
Although these radon decay products do give off detectable gamma radiation when they decay, the largest fraction of dose from these isotopes comes mainly from the intake of these isotopes into the lungs when breathed.

Radon being a gas is easily removed from any dwelling by simple ventilation. This is particularly true if the ventilation has any kind of filtration as even a mild efficiency filter will remove large fractions of the radon decay products.


Health Officials Warn of Dangers of Radon

Radon is found in one out of every 15 homes in the United States — and many in west-central Illinois.

Illinois Radon Officer Patrick Daniels said it is difficult to detect because radon, like carbon monoxide, is tasteless and invisible. Daniels said radon comes from the soil underneath a house and will seep in through cracks or holes in the foundation.

When a house has a lower air pressure than outside, it acts as a vacuum and will pull radon inside.

Lung cancer is the only know effect of radon. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and the second leading cause for smokers, according to health officials.

About 21,000 people die annually in the United States from radon exposure — about 1,200 people in Illinois. Because most people do not find out they have lung cancer until the late stages, it is important to have a house tested for radon, according to health officials.

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Colder Weather Increases Radon Danger

The onset of colder weather brings things indoors, including unwanted radon gas. Radon is a result of naturally-occurring uranium breakdown in rocks and soil. The colorless, odorless, tasteless gas seeps up from the ground and can pool in a home.

“Because it’s colder outside and then warmer inside your home, that increases the radon levels,” said Eleanor Divver, radon project coordinator for the state of Utah.

Divver said the potentially elevated levels of the gas make colder months the best time to check for radon.

The gaseous toxin is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States.
One-third of the homes in Utah have elevated levels of radon, according to Divver.

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Experts Warn of the Dangers of Radon in Central Ohio Homes

It kills more people than drunken driving accidents and house fires combined.

Radon can't be seen or smelled, but it's the number one cause of lung cancer in non-smokers in the United States.

Radon invades homes and buildings through foundation cracks and openings, and even directly through concrete. It can be found all across the U.S.

"It's kind of a swath through Ohio and Pennsylvania," said Eco Radon Solutions Radon Specialist David Jones. "It's more prevalent."

You can't see, smell or taste it, but when you breathe air containing radon, you can get lung cancer. The radioactive gas is found at the highest levels in the lowest floors of your home - a basement, for example.

Nearly one out of every 15 homes in the U.S. is estimated to have elevated radon levels. While it is more common in some areas than others, any home can have a radon problem.

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The Causes and Concerns of Radon Exposure

The first time many people learn about radon is when they're buying or selling a house. But this gas, which has no smell, is more than just something to check off in your home inspection. Radon is a leading cause for lung cancer. This week on WRVO's health and wellness show "Take Care," hosts Linda Lowen and Lorraine Rapp speak with John Martin from the Environmental Protection Agency about the causes and concerns of radon exposure.

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Utah Radon Poster Contest Winners Announced

The Utah Department of Environmental Quality Division of Radiation Control has announced the three student winners for the 2015 National Radon Poster Contest.

First place went to Cetera Sorensen, 11, of Lakeview Academy in Saratoga Springs; second place to Ani Allan, 10, of Crescent Elementary in Sandy; and third place to Ellie Lyman, 10, also of Crescent Elementary.

The winning posters can be viewed at www.radon.utah.gov.

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This Week Marks National Radon Action Week

The purpose of National Radon Action Week is to educate people about the health risks of radon, learning about radon gas itself, and also inform everyone how to test their homes for radon and what actions need to be taken if there are high levels of radon present.

Radon is a problem that affects millions of homes, daycares, schools, and buildings across the country. This is the time to get informed in order to stay safe and healthy in the place you spend most of your time.

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