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Radon in the News

Protect yourself from radon

Fergus Falls, MN — If there was something you could do to prevent the second leading cause of lung cancer, would you do it? Performing a radon test is easy, inexpensive, and can be done privately. This simple test can tell you if you have elevated radon levels in your home.

Radon is estimated to cause many thousands of deaths each year. When you breathe air containing radon, you can get lung cancer. In fact, the Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States today.

He urges Americans to test their homes to find out how much radon they might be breathing.

Why is radon a common problem in Minnesota homes? Much of the soil in the Upper Midwest contains widespread uranium and radium. These minerals continuously break down to release radon gas. Therefore, Minnesota's geology provides an ongoing supply of radon.

Saving Lives in 2009

Growing RadonLeaders.org

RadonLeaders.org now boasts almost 400 members in the mere four months since its launch at the national radon meetings in Las Vegas, September 2008. Help build the RadonLeaders.org community by asking three colleagues to join today! Direct them to www.radonleaders.org/user/register.

A Record Breaking National Radon Action Month 2009

Statistics make case for radon testing need

If Mark Versch were a betting man, he might place some money on the chance that any home in Chadron has a level of radon gas judged unsafe by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, radioactive gas, known to scientists as the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. Created by the natural decay of uranium, its danger as an occupational hazard for miners has been known since the early 1900s, but the realization of its presence in homes only dates to the mid-1980s.

Analysis of the geology of northwest Nebraska, where uranium bearing underground rock layers are common, is one indicator that northwest Nebraska homes are likely to show measurable amounts of radon, according to Versch, an environmental health analyst with the state’s Department of Health and Human Services who visited the area last week to present a program on radon at Chadron State College.

Area man battles lung cancer, high radon levels discovered

“It all started back in July. I had a cough and could not get rid of it,” recalls Mark Johnson, a farmer near Spring Grove, discussing the events leading to his diagnosis with lung cancer in December. “The over-the-counter stuff didn’t work. After awhile my family said I should go and get it checked out.”

The cough continued throughout the fall and on Nov. 26, the day before Thanksgiving and after most of his field work was done, Johnson went to the doctor.

“They wanted to do a chest x-ray to look for pneumonia,” he explained. When doctors saw questionable images on the x-ray they did a CT scan for further observation. On Dec. 18 the phone call came with the results; the growth in his lungs causing his chronic coughing was lung cancer. Already diagnosed as stage three cancer, chemotherapy would be the only option.

Excess radon in 42 percent of Illinois homes tested

A state study shows that 42 percent of homes tested in Illinois had excess levels of radon, a leading cause of lung cancer for nonsmokers, according to Illinois Emergency Management Agency Director Andrew Velasquez III.

It is estimated that 21,000 radon-related lung cancer deaths occur annually, 1,100 of which are in Illinois.

Radon is odorless, colorless and tasteless, making the radioactive gas difficult to detect.
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It originates from the radioactive decay of uranium that naturally occurs in soil. It enters homes through cracks and gaps in the foundation or interior construction. Radon can also contaminate the water supply.

The state normally offers free testing kits to residents; however, the 10,000 kits available have been distributed and funding for the program has been depleted.

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NSC's Radon Awards Ceremony Honors Those Who Help Save Lives

WASHINGTON, Jan. 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Safety Council's Radon Awards Ceremony, held tonight at the National Press Club, will recognize individuals and organizations for their contributions to reducing deaths from radon. Radon, a colorless, odorless and tasteless natural gas, is our nation's second leading cause of lung cancer, after smoking. Radon is linked to about 21,000 cancer deaths each year. It is estimated that residents of one in every 15 homes are exposed to unsafe levels of radon.

At tonight's ceremony, National Safety Council president and CEO Janet Froetscher will deliver opening remarks and award the winners of the NSC's 2009 National Radon Poster Contest, recognizing young people for their artistic efforts to educate the public about the importance of testing for radon. 2009 poster contest winners include:

1st place: Shana Stone, age 10, grade 6, Good Hope, Ga.
2nd place: Raquel Goldman, age 13, grade 8, Hollywood, Fla.

Some unseen effects of extreme cold

Extreme cold can have unusual effects in some unusual places. It can cause more radon gas to enter homes, and it can kill off tree pests. MPR's Cathy Wurzer spoke first with Bill Angell, professor, and housing specialist at the University of Minnesota, about radon. Then, she spoke with Lee Frelich, who studies forests and is Director of the Center for Hardwood Ecology at the University of Minnesota, about tree pests.


Call for Papers

Call for Papers
19th National Radon Training Meeting
Sept 20-23, 2009, St. Louis, Missouri

The E-25 Committee on Radon needs your help in identifying topics for sessions and training, including speakers, that would be of interest to the state radon programs. Early planning is needed so that we can provide you, the state radon workers, and other interested parties with early information about the content of the meeting.

Blogs Come To RadonLeaders.org!

Blogs Come To RadonLeaders.org!

Blogs have come to RadonLeaders.org! The blogs will feature content from members of the RadonLeaders.org community. We have five blogs up already, on topics ranging from NRAM outreach to radon activist's personal stories. Read and comment on them now at www.radonleaders.org/discuss/blogs!

Any member of RadonLeaders.org can blog Have an opinion or a topic you think the RadonLeaders.org community would be interested in hearing? Post a blog, it's really easy!

To Blog:
-Log in to RadonLeaders.org
-Select Create Content
-Then select Blog Entry and start writing

Radon: still bad - and getting worse

Despite nation’s 20-year war on cancerous gas found in soil, more homes than ever unsafe.

Remember radon?

Not enough people do, according to a new federal government report that says more people than ever are living in homes with the cancer-causing gas.

Studies have found Pennsylvania — where the radon scare originated in 1984 — with some of the most elevated levels of the naturally occurring gas in the U.S., and Lancaster County with some of the highest pockets in the Commonwealth.

A 2005 study, cited as the most comprehensive yet on radon findings in the U.S., found that six southcentral Pennsylvania counties, including Lancaster, had the highest average radon levels in the country.

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