How much do you really know about radon?
Not much? Don’t feel bad.
A 2015 American Institute for Cancer Research survey found that only 59 percent of Americans are aware that radon causes cancer. – New York Times.
Most of the 59% of those Americans primarily know about the harmful effects of radon because they have either purchased or sold a home in the last decade.
Despite over 40 years of clear evidence that radon exposure indoors can cause lung cancer and undisputed knowledge that proper testing and mitigation can greatly reduce exposure, too many Americans still die from radon-induced lung cancer every year.
Tragically, most never knew they faced a risk from indoor radon before receiving a lung cancer diagnosis.
To better understand the origin of radon awareness, we will start at the beginning.
1950s: The US radon measurement program began in the late 1950s by the US Public Health Service in Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah during the uranium frenzy.
1967-1972: From 1967 to 1972, the Health and Safety Laboratory of the US AEC in New York investigated more than 20 uranium mines for radon and radon decay product concentrations
1975-1978: Between 1975 and 1978, the Environmental Measurements Laboratory of the US Department of Energy conducted the first detailed indoor radon survey in the USA.
1984: Later in 1984, the very high concentrations of radon found in Pennsylvania homes set the wheels in motion and gave birth to the US Radon Industry. The US EPA expanded its involvement in radon issues and assumed an active role by establishing the National Radon Proficiency Program to evaluate the effectiveness of radon measurement and mitigation methods. In 1998, due to limited resources, EPA privatized the radon program.
Five Radon Awareness Facts to Consider & Share
Radon gas has recently become more prominent in discussions of lung cancer prevention nationally and in Kansas City. The key steps to reduce radon-induced deaths from lung cancer are to increase public awareness as well as educate our community.
Fact 1: According to the US EPA, nearly 1 in 3 homes checked in seven states had radon levels over the recommended action level for radon exposure of 4 pCi/L.
Fact 2: The International Agency for Research on Cancer lists radon as a category 1 carcinogen, meaning it is unequivocally known to cause human and animal cancers.
Fact 3: WHO (World Health Organization) stated that radon is estimated to cause between 3% to 14% of all lung cancers in a country, depending on the national average radon level and smoking prevalence.
Fact 4: Radon is considered a noble gas and airborne. It is radon-222 that most readily occurs in the environment. Atmospheric releases of radon-222 result in the formation of decay products that are radioisotopes and rapidly attach to other airborne materials such as dust and other materials facilitating inhalation.
When you breathe in radon gas, particles settle in your lung tissue and begin to decay. As the radon particles decay, they release bursts of energy that damage the lung tissue cells. Over time, cell damage can lead to the development of lung cancer. Scientists now estimate that between 15,000 – 22,000 deaths caused by lung cancer each year are related to radon in the United States.
Fact 5: Radon is invisible, tasteless, and odorless. There are no immediate symptoms that will alert you to the presence of radon. It typically takes years of exposure before any problems surface.
Five Steps You Can Take to Help Spread Radon Awareness & Save Lives
Each year an estimated 21,000 people die from lung cancer caused by radon exposure, yet hundreds of thousands of Americans are still breathing in high levels of radon in buildings where they live, work, study and play. ~ The National Radon Action Plan.
Step 1: Radon testing is easy. You can test your home yourself or hire a qualified radon test company. Either approach takes only a small amount of time and effort. EPA and the U.S. Surgeon General recommend that all homes in the U.S. be tested for radon. Testing is easy and inexpensive.
Step 2: Public awareness is the first barrier to taking action against radon. Tell your family and friends about the health risk of radon. Encourage them to test their homes.
Step 3: High radon levels? Mitigate now. Not just when you are selling your home.
Step 4: Community social engagement apps such as NextDoor are a great way to educate your immediate neighborhood about the importance of radon testing in the home.
Step 5: Build or buy a radon-resistant home. Ask about radon-resistant construction techniques if you are buying a new home. It is almost always cheaper and easier to build these features into new homes than to add them later.
For over a decade, Certified Radon has been the leader in Kansas City Radon Testing and Radon Mitigation.
We have continually educated and served thousands of homeowners and property owners with a variety of radon situations across the KC metro and beyond. Whether you need radon removal or radon testing, we provide cost-effective solutions in a timely, efficient and clean manner.
Now is the Time to Get Serious About Radon
With our mix of experience, processes, and customer service, we are confident that we provide the best radon removal experience in Kansas City.