Exposure to radon, a hazardous, odorless,
invisible gas, can be deadly if left untreated. The level of radon exposures
can effectively be reduced in most homes.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA), radon is the major cause of lung cancer in
non-smokers. Most radon-induced lung cancers occur from low and medium dose
exposures in people's homes. Radon is the second leading
cause of lung cancer after smoking in many countries including USA.
Five PA EPHT Topics on Radon:
1. EXPOSURE TO RADON CAUSES LUNG CANCER IN BOTH NON-SMOKERS AND SMOKERS
- Lung cancer kills thousands of Americans every year. Smoking, radon, and secondhand smoke
are the leading causes of lung cancer. Although lung cancer can be treated, the survival rate is
one of the lowest for those with cancer. Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer. Smoking
causes an estimated 160,000 cancer deaths in the U.S. every year.
- Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, according to EPA
estimates. Radon is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year. About 2,900
of these deaths occur among people who have never smoked.
- Secondhand smoke is the third leading cause of lung cancer and responsible for an estimated
3,000 lung cancer deaths every year. Smoking affects non-smokers by exposing them to
2. WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION LAUNCHES INTERNATIONAL RADON PROJECT
The World Health Organization (WHO) states radon causes up to 15% of lung cancers
worldwide. In an effort to reduce the rate of lung cancer around the world, the WHO launched
an international radon project to help countries increase awareness, collect data and encourage
action to reduce radon-related risks.
3. SURGEON GENERAL RELEASES NATIONAL HEALTH ADVISORY ON RADON
The U.S. Surgeon General, Richard H. Carmona, has issued a Health Advisory warning
Americans about the health risk from exposure to radon in indoor air. He urged Americans to
test their homes to find out how much radon they might be breathing. Dr. Carmona also
stressed the need to remedy the problem as soon as possible when the radon level is 4
picocuries per liter (pCi/L) or more, noting that more than 20,000 Americans die of radon-related
lung cancer each year.
4. RADON IN PENNSYLVANIA, SHOULD YOU BE CONCERNED?
Yes, Pennsylvania may have the most severe radon problems in the country. For this reason it is
very important that all homeowners, schools, and businesses test for radon.The U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) action level for radon is 4 pCi/L. At or above this
level of radon the EPA recommends that you take corrective action to reduce your exposure. The
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) data shows that about 40% of
homes tested have radon levels above the EPA action level.
Other factors about PA and radon are:
- We have over 5,000 homes testing greater than 100 pCi/L or 25 times the EPA action level.
- PA has a significant amount of “high end” data, where homes are greater than 20 pCi/L or 5
times greater than the EPA action levels.
- PA has the highest recorded level of radon in any home in the country at 3,715 pCi/L.
- PA homes measured so far have an average basement radon level of 7 pCi/L, and a first floor
level of 3.5 pCi/L. The national average radon level is 1.3 pCi/L.
- PA has 49 EPA classified Zone 1 counties, where the average radon levels are predicted to be
greater than 4 pCi/L.
- PA has 17 EPA classified Zone 2 counties, where the average radon levels are predicted to be
between 2 and 4 pCi/L.
- PA also has a large population of 12.5 million people.
All of these things taken together makes the strong case for Pennsylvania having the most
severe radon problems in the country.
5. RADON PREVENTION
Radon has become a more prevalent environmental issue over the past 20 years. Now, many
states are making it the law for home sellers to disclose radon levels and are recommending all
home buyers have an indoor radon test performed prior to purchase or taking occupancy of a
home. Testing is the only way to know if radon levels are high in a particular home or office.
It is easy to test your home for radon. Most radon test kits are inexpensive or in some cases
they are free from county or city governments. The EPA recommends radon levels should be
4 pCi/L or less. If a home exceeds that limit, it is recommended that action be taken as soon as
possible. If you have a persistent radon problem you can consult a certified radon contractor to
assist you with reduction of radon in your home