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Department of Environmental Protection Encourages Residents to Test Homes for Radon

With 40 percent of Pennsylvania homes having higher levels of radon than the Environmental Protection Agency considers acceptable, the Department of Environmental Protection encourages Pennsylvanians to perform a simple test for this known human carcinogen.

“Because of the state’s geology, Pennsylvanians are at risk of exposure to high radon levels,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “Fortunately, testing is as simple as one, two, three: Pick up an inexpensive test at a hardware store, open it and set it on a surface in your basement, and in a few days mail the test to the lab. It’s an easy New Year’s resolution to keep and important to your health and the health of your loved ones.”

Radon is an odorless, colorless radioactive gas that occurs naturally from the breakdown of uranium in soil and rocks and enters homes through cracks in the foundation or other openings. High levels of radon tend to be found in basements, but the gas can be found anywhere in the home.

Radon Reality: Why the Overlooked Gas Is a Health Hazard

Radon is invisible to the eye and has no odor. And even though it began worrying Americans starting in the 1980s, its mysterious ways seem misunderstood to this day. Yet according to UR Medicine’s Environmental Health Sciences Center, radon gas is second only to cigarette smoke as the leading cause of lung cancer. In the United States, radon is responsible for about 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year.

Two years ago, in a remote Kazakhstan village, residents began falling asleep for days at a time. Tests showed that villagers had an excessive accumulation of fluid in their brains, causing dizziness, inability to stand, fatigue and memory problems. Scientists first thought a virus or bacteria was to blame. Eventually, they concluded that radon from a nearby Soviet-era uranium mine had seeped up to the surface and was poisoning the villagers.

Study raises renewed radon concerns

A new study about the role radon might play in blood cancers is raising renewed attention for the colorless, odorless gas.

Radon occurs naturally in the atmosphere from the decay of uranium and radium in the soil. When it is able to seep in through cracks in a house’s foundation and becomes trapped, it can accumulate in levels considered dangerous to people.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has said for decades that radon is the second most frequent cause of lung cancer — behind only cigarette smoking — and is estimated to cause 21,000 lung cancer deaths a year in the U.S. Experts say it is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.

A study by the American Cancer Society now indicates exposure to high radon levels could increase the risk of hematologic cancers — common blood cancers including bone marrow and lymph node cancers.

January is radon awareness month

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Here is a shocking fact. The second leading cause of lung cancer is radon. In the United States, the EPA estimates that about 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year are radon related and in Canada that number stands at approximately 3,000.

Radon, a dangerous gas, is colorless, odorless, tasteless and radioactive. It is formed by the breakdown of uranium, a natural radioactive material found in soil, rock and groundwater.

Nearly 1 out of every 15 homes in the United States and Canada is estimated to have an elevated radon level. It typically moves up through the ground to the air above and into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Your home traps radon inside, where it can build up. Any home may have a radon problem - this means new and old homes, well-sealed and drafty homes, and homes with or without basements since this secret killer comes from the ground not from construction materials.

How Radon Can Get Into Your Home

EPA and Partners Announce National Plan to Prevent Lung Cancer Deaths Due to Radon Exposure

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), American Lung Association, and other partners are announcing a strategy for preventing 3,200 lung cancer deaths annually by 2020 through radon exposure reduction strategies. Exposure to radioactive radon gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer in America. The goal to save these lives will be achieved by reducing high radon levels in five million homes, apartments, schools and childcare centers. The partnership includes three federal departments and agencies, and nine national organizations.

“EPA is very pleased to be a partner in this important life-saving effort to prevent lung cancer caused by radon. Working together creates new opportunities for reducing the risk from radon. Combining our resources will save American lives by magnifying our effectiveness in preventing exposure to radon in homes and schools,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.

It's Time to Get Serious About Harmful Radon Exposure

Radon, a naturally-occurring invisible gas, is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. Twenty-one thousand Americans die from radon-induced lung cancer each year. You can't see, smell or taste radon, but it may be a problem in your home. The good news is that radon exposure is preventable. The American Lung Association and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are committed to fighting radon. Now, we're enlisting others to help take the fight to a whole new level -- because no one should have to suffer from preventable radon-caused cancer.

Radon: What You Don't Know Could Hurt You

The 2014 monthly lecture series from UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center begins January 28 with a presentation on the dangers of radon. Eric Matus of the Nevada Radiation Control Program will lead a public lecture titled “Radon: What you don’t know could hurt you” beginning at 6 p.m. at the Tahoe Center for Environmental Sciences.

Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas that naturally emanates from rocks, soil and water. Radon can accumulate in a home and can cause serious health problems. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 21,000 people in the United States die from radon-induced lung cancer each year—more than those who die from drunk driving, falls in the home, or secondhand smoke.

Eric Matus will present an overview of radon, where radon originates, where it’s found, what it can do to you, how to test for it and what to do if your home has a radon problem. Free test kits will be offered to Nevada residents.

Study of Environmental Exposure to Cancer-Causing Agents in West Salem Almost Ready for Release

Did environmental exposure cause bone cancer in at least five West Salem children?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is completing a preliminary site assessment at five locations in West Salem to try to answer that question.

Officials expect to release their report in the first or second week of December, EPA spokesman Mark MacIntyre said.

The study is in response to demands from the public after 17-year-old West Salem High School student Lisa Harder died in November 2012. She was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in 2009.

At least four other West Salem youths have been diagnosed with the same type of bone cancer in recent years.

Last November, residents gathered more than a thousand signatures on two petitions asking the EPA to investigate the string of cancer cases. In December the agency agreed.

Advancing Healthy Housing: A Strategy for Action

An exciting press and stakeholder event promoting radon action is taking place on Monday, February 4, 2013 from 9:00-11:30 a.m. EST, at the National Building Museum (401 F Street, NW) in Washington D.C. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will join the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) along with a number of additional federal agencies to announce “Advancing Healthy Housing: A Strategy for Action”. This new plan unifies federal activities to advance healthy housing, demonstrates the connection between housing condition and residents’ health, and promotes strategies and methods intended to control and prevent major housing-related hazards in a cost-effective manner.

Senior leaders from sponsoring agencies, including EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, will announce the release of the Strategy and discuss their respective agency’s work relating to the Strategy’s vision and goals.

Success with Engaging the Real Estate Industry

As of January 1, 2013, the Ohio EPA instituted changes to its radon program to promote outreach and awareness. In an effort to better educate the local real estate professionals on new rule changes my company has made contact with more than 300 real estate agents and company representatives to brief them on the impacts of these rules on their practices and organizations.

A number of agents who have been through the radon education seminars we provide have until now shown little interest. With the onset of the new rules and our explanations and outreach, interest in radon during the month of January 2013 has peaked tremendously. Our company has two licensed radon professionals on staff and in recent weeks have held multiple meetings with various local companies anxious to learn.

There is an awareness and a need for more education in the real estate industry that is typically responsible for 80 percent of the radon tests performed in the U.S.