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Leading Cause Of Non-Smoking Lung
Cancer Is Radon
January 4, 2011 -
January is National Radon Action Month and the U.S Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) and eight other federal agencies are announcing
a new effort to strengthen the fight against radon exposure.
Radon exposure is
the leading cause of non-smoking lung cancer. Senior leaders from the
federal agencies are pledging to work together to create a national risk
reduction plan for radon that will help save lives and create safer,
healthier homes for all Americans.
“Radon is a serious public health threat that leads to more than 21,000 deaths each year,” said Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “This new federal partnership will help Americans reduce their risk of radon exposure.”
Radon is a naturally-occurring, invisible and odorless radioactive gas. One in 15 American homes contains high levels of radon. Millions of Americans are unknowingly exposed to this dangerous gas. By taking simple steps to test your home for radon and fix if necessary, this health hazard can be avoided.
is a chemical element with symbol Rn and atomic number 86. It is a
radioactive, colorless, odorless, tasteless noble gas, occurring
naturally as the decay product of uranium. It is one of the densest
substances that remains a
gas under normal conditions and is considered to be a health hazard due
to its radioactivity. Its most stable isotope, 222Rn, has a half-life of
3.8 days. Due to its intense radioactivity, it has been less
well-studied by chemists, but a few compounds are known.
Radon is formed as
part of the normal radioactive decay chain of uranium. Uranium has been
around since the earth was formed and its most common isotope has a very
long half-life (4.5 billion years). Uranium, radium, and thus radon,
will continue to occur for millions of years at about the same
concentrations as they do now.
responsible for the majority of the public exposure to ionizing
radiation. It is often the single largest contributor to an individual's
background radiation dose, and is the most variable from location to
location. Radon gas from natural sources can accumulate in buildings,
especially in confined areas such as attics, and basements. It can also
be found in some spring waters and
evidence shows a clear link between breathing high concentrations of
radon and incidence of lung cancer. Thus, radon is considered a
significant contaminant that affects indoor air quality worldwide.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, radon is
the second most frequent cause of lung cancer, after cigarette smoking,
causing 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year in the
If your home
hasn't been tested for radon in the past two years, EPA and the Surgeon
General urge you to take action. Contact your state radon office for
information on locating qualified test kits or qualified radon testers.
At the end of
January, the federal consortium will meet with key leaders in the
public health, environmental and private sectors to begin shaping a
national action plan that includes both immediate and long-term
steps to reduce radon exposure.
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