The American Lung Association and Kentucky Radon Coalition recommend radon testing in the month of January
(January 7, 2016) -
The American Lung Association along with numerous other state organizations in the Kentucky Radon Coalition are working in to educate the public on the dangers of radon and how they can protect themselves during Radon Awareness Month throughout the month of January by testing their homes.
"In order to eliminate lung cancer caused by radon, we desperately need to improve the way we protect people indoors. Approximately 42% of all Kentucky homes will test above the EPA action level². In some areas, greater than 65% of all homes will test above the action level². This means that nearly half of our population is exposed daily to toxic levels of radioactive radon," said Heather Wehrheim, Advocacy Director with the American Lung Association.
Winter is an especially good time to test because windows are closed and families tend to spend more time inside where radon can be trapped.
What is Radon?
Radon is a radioactive gas that comes from natural processes in the ground. Nearly all soils contain uranium, which naturally decays over time to produce radon gas. Radon seeps up from the soil into the air, concentrating in buildings. While radon gas is the second-leading cause of lung cancer, effective measures do exist to reduce radon indoors, which can prevent radon-caused lung cancer and save lives.
What Can You Do?
Testing your home for radon is easy. In Kentucky, short-term radon test kits are available free of charge by contacting your local health department or Kentucky Radon Program at 502-564-4856.
If radon levels are elevated, the EPA recommends fixing your home to reduce the danger from radon a list of certified mitigators in Kentucky can be found at: http://www.radongas.org/mitigation/KY.html.
Advocacy Efforts Related to Radon:
With a focus on getting radon reduction procedures as standard practice in housing finance and insurance programs, there is great potential to achieve the long-term effect of establishing more effective building codes that address high radon readings. The Kentucky Radon Coalition partners are meeting with groups, including housing finance and building code developers, to put the initial steps in place.
"The Kentucky Radon Program seeks to continue its efforts to educate Builders and Real Estate Professionals and grow local coalitions that can adopt new radon policy that requires homes and apartments to be tested for radon," says Clay Hardwick, State Radon Program Coordinator.
In Kentucky, American Lung Association and other health care advocates are working on legislation in 2016 to make sure all daycares are tested for radon and test results are posted for caregivers to see.
Nationally, the American Lung Association along with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and other organizations include the American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists, the American Society of Home Inspectors, Cancer Survivors Against Radon, the Children's Environmental Health Network, Citizens for Radioactive Radon Reduction the Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors, the Environmental Law Institute and the National Center for Healthy Housing worked together to develop a National Radon Action Plan: A Strategy for Saving Lives, in 2015.
This plan is a strategy to prevent 3,200 lung cancer deaths by driving change to reduce radon in 5 million high-radon homes, apartments, schools and childcare centers. The plan can be found at www.lung.org/radon. The partners welcome others who support these actions to join our effort/endorse the plan.
In 2011, the Federal Radon Action Plan was released and has led to the protection from radon in more than 105,000 multi-family homes that have financing from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, among other measures. However, that 2011 plan focused solely on actions that federal agencies could take, while the new plan broadens the tools to include actions that the private sector and the non-governmental organizations can put in place.