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Combined effects of tobacco smoke and radon put Kentuckians at heightened risk of lung cancer

In Kentucky, a trifecta of risk factors contributes to a high prevalence of lung cancer.

High smoking rates and weak or nonexistent smoke-free laws in Kentucky are undeniably linked to high rates of lung cancer, but the soil underground also poses considerable dangers. Exposure to radon — an odorless, tasteless gas that escapes from our limestone-enriched landscape — also increases the risk of lung cancer. Our laws don't adequately protect Kentuckians through mandated testing and monitoring of radon levels or smoke-free protections.

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Is radon in Utah schools? KSL investigates

HOLLADAY — A silent killer may be lurking in Utah schools, but districts aren't required to test for it. Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that seeps up from the ground. Health officials say it is the second-leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. Many Utahns have tested their homes and found high levels of radon, but what's going on in our schools?

To find out, the KSL Investigators teamed up with radon technicians and district officials to test six elementary schools in the City of Holladay: Cottonwood Elementary, Crestview Elementary, Howard R. Driggs Elementary, Morningside Elementary, Oakwood Elementary, and Spring Lane Elementary.

Armed with more than 200 charcoal test kits, Radovent technicians set out samples in every office, classroom, and space frequently occupied by teachers, students and staff.

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Separating fact from fiction concerning radon

Radon gas poses a real, yet easily managed threat to homeowners and homebuyers in Pennsylvania. However, the threats posed by radon gas, as well as the means for dealing with elevated levels of radon gas are often misunderstood by the general public. To help clear up the mysteries surrounding this silent killer, I sat down with local home inspection expert John Kerrigan of Reliable Home Inspection Service.

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Slovaks lack radon awareness

A NATURALLY-OCCURRING radioactive gas that leaks from the ground has become an invisible killer due to changes in home construction and lifestyles, and it disproportionately threatens children. Despite European Union rules that oblige member states to improve policies to deal with radon, the gas in question, there appears to be little interest in the issue in Slovakia.

“Officers should measure levels of radon but they do not,” Juraj Vaník from AG&E, a company which conducts radon measurement, told The Slovak Spectator. “The legislation addresses ionisation from subsoil. Sadly no officer from any village’s municipality connects it with radon; it is outside their technological knowledge.”

Missouri ranks high in radon danger but still lacks statewide regulation

COLUMBIA — A week before closing on a house in March, Jenn Trentham received the results from a home inspection test for radon, something she knew little about. The house she was about to buy, as it turned out, was above the safe level for radon.

"I kind of panicked," Trentham said. "I didn't know anything about radon."

About 25 percent of buildings in Boone County are estimated to be above this dangerous 4.0 pCi/L level.

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Elevated radon levels detected at Camas City Hall

An exercise room in the basement of Camas City Hall was closed last week after testing revealed a high level of radon gas.

City Administrator Pete Capell confirmed that the elevated amount of radon, a naturally-occurring radioactive gas, was discovered during an annual air quality check. On May 1, the city received a report from Cascade Radon, Inc., stating that the reading was 8.0 pCi/L (picocuries of radiation per liter of air).

According to Environmental Protection Agency guidelines, to be safe levels of radon must be below 4.0 pCi/L. Readings of 1.3 pCi/L are the indoor national average. Levels of 4.0 pCi/L is considered ‘action level,’ indicating the need to retest or fix the building.

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Radon causes 100 lung cancer deaths in Utah every year

Radiation is seeping into many Utah homes and most families don't even know it. For some, by the time they find out it's too late. They learn about radon gas after being diagnosed with lung cancer.

Lisa Jacobs is living with lung cancer. "It was so confusing because my body had never told me that something was wrong." She was diagnosed in 2012. "Full body scans on Wednesday, showed up at the doctor's Thursday morning, they said you have stage 4 lung cancer and I said 'You're kidding right?'"

You see, Lisa has never been a smoker. "I had not been sick," said Jacobs. "I had been working full time. I was helping coach my daughter's competitive soccer team. I was working out with my girls, no cough, no anything."

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Atlanta homes built with radioactive concrete

An entire condo building in metro Atlanta was built with radioactive concrete, according to an inspection report obtained by the 11Alive Investigators. It's a relatively new phenomenon where radon inspectors and remediation companies are finding the gas emanating not just from the soil but also from building materials.

Radon is an invisible, odorless, radioactive gas that claims more than 20,000 lives a year, according to Environmental Protection Agency. As radioactive particles decay in the lungs, they can cause lung cancer. The EPA estimates 7,000 of the people who die from radon-induced lung cancer are non-smokers. In fact it's considered the number one cause of lung cancer in non-smokers.

"Your entire life, you're accumulating a dose exposure," said Matt Koch with Southern Radon Reduction. Casual exposure isn't a problem, but living with elevated levels of radon in your home for years can be deadly.

New concern about radon risks

The environmental pressure group David Suzuki Foundation has issued a new report about the risks of radon in Canada, especially to homes and workplaces. Although aimed at Canada, many of the points raised are applicable to many countries.

The primary aim of the report is with public education. Although the International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies radon as a known human carcinogen, the report notes that a large number of people are not aware of radon, and fewer still recognize it as a health hazard.

Radon From Your Stove: Why New York Should Enact the No Radon in Natural Gas Legislation

Enjoying the spring air? Well, take a deep breath New York.

Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, resulting in 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year.

So why am I mentioning this now? Well, recent research reported from scientists at Johns Hopkins reiterates the wisdom of legislation introduced by assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal and senator Diane Savino mandating that all natural gas sold in New York must contain safe radon levels.

Joan A. Casey and her scientific team recently reported that radon levels in Pennsylvania have risen since hydraulic fracturing of natural gas commenced. The researchers said they "found a statistically significant association between proximity to unconventional natural gas wells drilled in the Marcellus shale and first floor radon concentration in the summer," suggesting "a pathway through outdoor ambient air."