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Playing It Safe With Radon Levels

Q: My wife says I should be concerned about radon in our house. What kind of test should we use, and how often?

A: Radon, a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas, enters a home through cracks in the foundation, holes or cavities around pipes, through floor drains or sump pump openings.

Breathing it in creates no immediate symptoms, but over time, it can cause lung cancer and will significantly increase the risk of lung cancer among smokers who are also exposed to radon. More than 20,000 people will die this year after breathing too much radon without knowing it.

The American Association of Poison Control Centers offers the following tips to protect from radon exposure.

•The only way to figure out if your home has high levels of radon is to perform a test. There are two types of tests: short- and long-term.

WHO urging public to have homes tested for radon

WHO urging public to have homes tested for radon

Central Kentucky’s karstlands have long been a healthy source of tourism dollars, but that same topography carries increased health risks from radon gas, the leading source of lung cancer for nonsmokers. Health experts now say that radon risk has been shown to be more serious than previously believed and are strongly recommending that property owners here test for it.

An estimated 14 percent of lung cancer cases are attributable to exposure to radon gas, according to new findings by the World Health Organization. In the U.S. alone, the Environmental Protection Agency says that 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year can be attributed to radon.

High levels of radon 'across Ireland'

There is no county in Ireland without a high level of radon gas, according to an update from the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII), issued today.

The organisation said that while counties in the west, southeast and south of the country are returning the highest rates of homes with high radon levels, every county is affected with the gas, which has been linked to up to 200 lung cancer deaths a year.

Radon is a colourless, odourless and tasteless radioactive gas which is naturally produced in the ground from the uranium present in small quantities in all rocks and soils. When inhaled, particles are deposited in individual's airways and on the tissue of the lung. This results in a radiation dose that can cause lung cancer.

Blue Ridge Elementary School radon levels above those allowed by EPA

Blue Ridge Elementary School radon levels above those allowed by EPA
The carcinogenic gas was found in levels above those allowed by the US Environmental Protection Agency.


WALLA WALLA -- Blue Ridge Elementary School families were to be notified today that the facility has tested high for levels of radon, a carcinogen.

Blue Ridge staff members were notified Tuesday about the results, which show radon, a radioactive gas, present above the acceptable level recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency. The gas, a class A carcinogen, has been linked to lung cancer in people who are exposed to it over time.

Mark Higgins, district spokesman, said staff were notified of the air quality results Tuesday, and that Blue Ridge parents and the general public were to be notified Wednesday. But at least one news source reported on the radon detection late Tuesday.

Lung Cancer in ‘Never-Smokers’: A Unique Entity

ABSTRACT
Lung cancer in “never-smokers” constitutes only a small proportion of patients with lung cancer. Nevertheless, the topic has recently attracted a good deal of attention. Initially this was due to the fact that never-smokers with lung cancer had better outcomes with epidermal growth factor receptor–tyrosine kinase (EGFR-TK) inhibitors, compared to tobacco smokers with lung cancer. More recently the identification of molecular changes unique to lung cancer in never-smokers has generated further interest in this disease. These findings have the potential to enhance our knowledge of lung cancer biology and lead to the development of new, more effective treatments for lung cancer. In this review, we summarize the existing body of knowledge on lung cancer in never-smokers.

The full article is available here.

Radon detected in two-thirds of Stateline homes

Radon detected in two-thirds of Stateline homes

GARDNERVILLE, Nev. — With the exception of a small sliver along Jacks Valley Road representing Genoa's ZIP Code, Douglas County's elevated radon results extend from Lake Tahoe to the Pine Nuts.

Radon, a radioactive gas that is the leading cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers, is being detected in an average of 67.6 percent of Stateline homes tested. Zephyr Cover comes in a close second at 66.3 percent of homes tested.

Third place for the county is Gardnerville's 89460 ZIP code, which extends from the Gardnerville Ranchos to Sheridan Acres and Mottsville, one of the county's most populous regions, where 210 of 383 homes tested had elevated results.

Scientists make the point that any home in the county could have elevated levels of radon, even if a home next door doesn't.

Radon is formed by the decay of uranium in the soil. It is a tasteless, odorless gas that seeps into homes, where it can gather in still places and give off radioactive particles as it decays.

Review the Current Draft of the Strategic Program Plan for EPA's Radon Program

EPA is developing a Strategic Program Plan to meet its mandates on radon, and is seeking input from the radon community. EPA has hosted two previous opportunities for feedback on its plan from individual radon stakeholders - a feedback polll hosted on RadonLeaders.org and a discussion Webinar. On Sunday, September 20, 2009 EPA hosted a discussion session on its Plan during the concurrent national radon meetings in St. Louis, MO (AARST's 2009 International Radon Symposium, and CRCPD's 19th National Radon Training Conference).

The current draft of the Strategic Program Plan is available for download.

Please note, you must be logged in to RadonLeaders.org to download these documents.

Healthy Schools, Healthy Children

Council could have to pay €1m radon gas bill (Ireland)

ORIGINAL ARTICLE

High levels radon within Wicklow County Council's housing stock could see the council's finances spiralling out of control, as they face a bill of €1 million to bring the radon levels to an acceptable level.

Director of Services Michael Nicholson told members of the council on Monday that Wicklow has one of the highest levels of radon gas in the country.

He said the council currently had 2,200 houses on their books, 1,700 of them which had been built before 1998 when radon prevention measures came into place.

He said that to test each of these houses, at an average cost of €75 per house would cost €165,000. Any remedial works to houses affected would cost between €1,500 and €5,000 per house.

University of Minnesota Extension closings

ORIGINAL ARTILCE

The University of Minnesota Extension is how the University applies its research to solve problems throughout Minnesota. It operates all over the state to “deliver research-based education and information that is relevant, practical and useful” to organizations and individuals. However, Extension has been forced to close two regional offices this year due to budget pressure.

A major part of this pressure was a $1.7 million cut in funding from the state. State funding at nearly $28 million provides almost half of Extension’s budget. The state has already shown that it does not consider the University a priority by cutting $151 million in total from its budget, but cutting funding for Extension runs directly counter to the interest of Minnesota taxpayers.