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Safety First: Radioactive Killer Sneaks into Homes

Wisconsin winters may be putting us at higher risk for the second leading cause of lung cancer — radon. Radon is a tasteless, colorless, odorless radioactive gas that is highly toxic.

Radon comes from the natural (radioactive) breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water and gets into the air you breathe through your foundation cracks and crevices. Radon can be found all over the United States.

It can get into any type of building — homes, offices and schools. But you and your family are most likely to get your greatest exposure at home, where you spend most of your time. In the winter months, doors and windows are kept shut and this can cause radon to build to higher concentrations in your home than in the summer months.

Here is what you can do to protect your family from radon:

EPA Budget for FY13 - Radon Cuts

As many of you may have already heard, the President's budget for FY13 (beginning October 1, 2012) was released this week and includes the zeroing out of the State Indoor Radon Grants program and regional oversight efforts. The President's budget (which includes EPA) is at this point "proposed.” The final budget will be the result of the congressional process to come. The process can result in programs proposed for cutting to be restored or left as proposed.

County Leader Encourages Radon Testing

County Leader Encourages Radon Testing

BUFFALO, N.Y. (wned) - The Chair of the Erie County Legislature is encouraging residents to have radon gas tests done at their homes. She says it could save a life.

Radon can't be seen or smelled. It is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that seeps through soil, rocks, and water, and it can easily seep into homes.

Legislature Chair Betty Jean Grant says it's dangerous.

"Radon gas exposure is the second-leading cause of death for people with lung cancer behind cigarette smoking. It's a very serious concern," says Grant.

There are radon hot spots sprinkled throughout Buffalo, Cheektowaga, and several townships. Grant is encouraging residents to have their homes tested.

The County's Deptartment of Environment and Planning provides radon test kits for $8. Ideally, testing should be done annually.

The federal government says in 2008 there were 21,000 radon-related deaths in the U.S.

Investigators: Radon Radiation

Many know of someone who died of lung cancer but never smoked, and it seems to be a more common diagnosis each year. What's behind it? Though second-hand smoke is certainly a culprit, the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking is something that may be lurking in your own home.

Jamie Gunn's home is quiet and cozy, and it looks like any other house in the cul-de-sac -- but her home was invaded by something sinister that slipped into the basement, unseen or unheard. The killer worked slowly and methodically. When it finally struck, it extinguished a radiant mother of two.

Jamie's mother died of lung cancer even though she never smoked a cigarette in her life. Barbara Neitge, 54 suffered and died from the disease. Now, the cause is being traced right back to her home.

Colorado's Top Two Youth Volunteers Selected in 17th Annual National Awards Program

Colorado's Top Two Youth Volunteers Selected in 17th Annual National Awards Program

Colorado Springs and Golden students earn $1,000 awards, engraved medallions and trip to nation's capital!

DENVER, Feb 07, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- --Honors also bestowed on youth volunteers in Golden, Castle Rock, Fort Collins and Colorado Springs.

Suzanne Luff, 18, of Colorado Springs and Christina Bear, 14, of Golden today were named Colorado's top two youth volunteers for 2012 by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide program honoring young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism. Suzanne was nominated by Colorado Springs Christian High School in Colorado Springs, and Christina was nominated by Metro Volunteers in Denver. The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, now in its 17th year, is conducted by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).

Student Reveals Radon Dangers

A TRALEE student's Young Scientist project has revealed that many people living in Kerry are unaware of the risks posed by cancer causing radon gas.

Presentation Secondary School student Shelley Ni Eidhin, who recently achieved First Place in the Intermediate Section of the Social and Behavioural Sciences Category at the 2012 Young Scientists Competition at the RDS Dublin, has compiled research which she says shows that the Kerry public are "fatally unaware of the presence of Radon gas in their homes".

Shelley conducted 511 surveys about Radon awareness across the entire county. Her study shows that while 95 per cent of the 511 people surveyed had heard of the naturally occurring gas only 22 per cent had actually tested their homes.

Officials: Threat of Radon High in State

There are a number of concerns when buying or owning a home, but the state Department of Environmental Protection is hoping homeowners pay attention to a specific odorless and radioactive gas -- radon.

Bob Lewis, the program manager for DEP’s Radon Division, finds that most people don’t really think of radon, even though Pennsylvania residents should worry about the levels in their home.

“Pennsylvania could be one of the worst states in the country,” Lewis said. “There’s a handful of states that show high levels of radon, and we’re up there. I think about 49 of the 67 counties in the state are EPA zoned 1 counties. It’s just a characteristic of our geography. It’s easy for gas to migrate through the ground.”

Local Artist Warns About the Dangers of Radon

View this news segment: https://blog.epa.gov/greeningtheapple/2012/01/31/local-artist-warns-about-the-dangers-of-radon/

Even though today is officially the last day of National Radon Action Month, unhealthy levels of radon in households across the U.S. is an especially serious issue during cold winter months, when windows and doors are kept closed. EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck caught up with NYC resident and LaGuardia high school student Laura Dabalsa, the first place winner in the EPA and Kansas State University’s national Radon Poster Contest.

Radon, the Silent Killer

Radon, the Silent Killer

Joanne Cooper has always been concerned about living in a healthy environment.

She eats organic food, is careful about what products she uses around the house, and wants to make sure she is drinking safe water.

That’s why Cooper sprung into action when she and her husband Art discovered in 2009 that an unsafe level of radon gas had built up in their basement.

“You always think – it’ll happen somewhere else. Maybe to others but not to me,” she said from her Orleans home that she has lived in year round for 20 years.

But what exactly is radon gas and why is it harmful?
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, radon gas is “an extremely toxic colorless and odorless gas,” emitted from the natural decay of uranium in soil and rock. Because radon is a carcinogen, it causes up to 21,000 deaths a year in the U.S. Lung cancer from radon is second to only cigarette smoking for causes of lung cancer and most often, people have never heard of it.

The Hidden Cause of Lung Cancer

Many of you know of someone who developed lung cancer even though they never smoked. Likewise, many of us know of someone who had lung cancer even though they smoked much less than others who didn't develop the disease.

Why?

One of the reasons is radon.

You don't have to be a miner to be exposed to radon. In fact, the second leading cause of lung cancer - and the leading cause in non-smokers - is exposure to radon in the comfort of our own homes.

And we are all at risk.

Radon doesn't discriminate based on the value or age of your home. Radon gas comes from the normal decay of uranium beneath our homes.

Radon doesn't necessarily discriminate based on where you live. While some areas have higher radon levels than others, elevated radon levels have been found in homes in all 50 states.

Why do I call radon a hidden cause?