January is National Radon Action Month

(January 4, 2012)

Contact: Bev Stewart 
(503) 718-6146

January is National Radon Action Month
The American Lung Association recommends that all homes be tested for radon.

Portland, Ore.–The winter can be a dangerous time of year for people living with high levels of radon in their homes. This time of year, radon levels can soar as residents keep their windows closed and spend more time indoors. In an effort to educate and encourage Oregon residents about the importance of lung health, the American Lung Association in Oregon is kicking off Radon Action Month.

Radon is an odorless, colorless gas that naturally occurs in the soil. When levels get too high, it becomes hazardous to our health. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer, after smoking, and the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.

“You can’t see, taste, or smell radon in your home, so the first step is to test — if you don’t test, you don’t know,” said Brett Sherry, Program Manager with the Office of Environmental Public Health at the Oregon Health Authority. “We know from many studies that breathing radon increases your risk of lung cancer. Testing is an easy, important way to protect you and your family.”

Radon and smoking make an even more deadly combination. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, if you smoke and your home has high radon levels, your risk of lung cancer is especially high. Radon is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year in the United States, with 85 percent of those deaths occurring in individuals who have smoked.

Lung cancer kills more Americans than any other cancer, claiming more lives than the next four leading cancer killers—breast, prostate, colon and pancreas cancers—combined. Lung cancer places a significant burden on our society. According to the National Cancer Institute, there were an estimated 221,130 new lung cancer cases and 156,940 lung cancer deaths in the United States in 2011. The National Institutes of Health report that an estimated $9.6 billion is spent each year in the United States on lung cancer treatment alone.

The American Lung Association and the Environmental Protection Agency recommend that all homes be tested for radon. Test your home for radon today by purchasing at radon test kit at: www.radonkit.org. If you are building a new home, ask your builder about radon-resistant construction materials.  

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About the American Lung Association in Oregon
The American Lung Association in Oregon is a non-profit, voluntary public health organization, working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease in Oregon. Our programs focus on the areas of asthma, clean air, tobacco prevention and lung disease.

For more information about the American Lung Association in Oregon or to support the work it does, call (503) 924-4094 or visit: www.lungoregon.org.