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Does Your Home or Building Need Radon Testing?

"Radon" sounds like a secret supervillain, and you could say that's essentially what it is. An invisible, odorless gas, radon concentrates in homes and buildings, exposing those who breathe it in to the second-top cause of lung cancer in the U.S. The good news is radon testing is simple; high-radon homes can be mitigated or fixed – and free or reduced-cost testing is offered in many areas.

Learn more about radon, mitigation, and testing for peace of mind.

Radon Poster and Video Contest Launch

January launched the annual Radon Poster and Video Contests for Illinois and Iowa. The Poster Contest calls on students ages 9-14 to create a radon poster that will increase public awareness of radon gas and encourages others to test their home. Students can win scholarships ranging from $50-$300. All posters and forms are due by March 1, 2016. For contest details and to view last year’s winners please visit http://healthhouse.org/radon/ia_poster.cfm for Iowa and http://healthhouse.org/radon/il_poster.cfm for Illinois.


National Radon Action Month: Spreading awareness

You can't see it, smell it, or taste it in your home but there may be dangerous levels or radon lurking in your house.

About twenty-one thousand Americans die each year from lung cancer caused from radon. The month of January is National Radon Action month and the EPA and U.S. Surgeon General are encouraging everyone to test their homes, businesses, and schools.

"I see a lot of people with cancer. Probably once every two weeks I'm in somebody's home that has had cancer and don't have an explanation for it, in particular lung cancer and have come to find out that their radons high," said Kevin Siers, owner of KSA Radon Services.

Other prevention techniques the EPA is promoting this month are spreading the word and attending a radon awareness event in our area.

Learn more about how you can raise awareness!

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.

Missouri Radon Levels Higher Than Previously Thought

It's silent, invisible, and a major cause of cancer. In addition, a surprising number of houses in the St. Louis area have too much of it, according to recent test figures.

Many Missouri home owners don't know about radon, or it’s risk, until it's too late. And state politicians aren't doing much to fix the problem.

“Seems like someone should have brought it up before. I don't want to end up dying from lung cancer,” said Wentzville homeowner Brian Hunsicker.

There's something in Brian and Joanne Hunsicker's home steadily stealing years from their lives. It’s cancer- caused by an odorless, radioactive gas called radon. It seeps out of the soil and into many homes across Missouri and the nation.

“Radon is responsible for about 21,000 deaths each year,” said Dr. Bill Field, an internationally-acclaimed Radon expert.

In fact, Field says, radon is the number two cause of lung cancer in the U.S...a surprise for many of its victims.

Radon Testing Now Mandatory For Montgomery County Home Sales

Montgomery County is the first local government in the U.S. to mandate testing for radon gas before a home can be sold. The Environmental Protection Agency says homes in the county are at particular risk for having dangerous levels of the gas.

Most single-family homes would have to be tested for radon before they are sold under a measure the county council gave unanimous approval. Maryland state law already encourages home sellers to test for it and mandates that if radon is detected, they tell the potential buyer. But testing isn't required by the state, and county councilman Craig Rice feels home buyers should know what they are getting.

"We are just asking people to test. Just to make sure that they know what may be lurking in their homes unknown that might be a silent, deadly killer," Rice says.

Radon gas is invisible and radioactive. It comes from the breakdown of uranium in rocks and soil. Humans exposed to it have greater rates of cancer and other diseases.

Montgomery Co. Considers Controversial Bill Requiring Home Sellers to Test for Radon

In Maryland, home sellers who know that their homes have elevated radon levels are required to disclose that information to prospective buyers. However, at present, home sellers have no duty to measure the radon levels in their homes.

That could change in Montgomery County if the County Council approves a controversial bill that would mandate radon testing.

Bill 31-15, sponsored by Council members Craig Rice (D-Upcounty) and Sidney Katz (D-Gaithersburg-Rockville), would require home sellers to test their homes for radon and provide the results to prospective home buyers before entering a sales contract. If the bill is enacted, Montgomery County would become the only jurisdiction in the country to mandate radon testing.

Read more here.

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.