A new report tracks the progress our nation is making toward defeating lung cancer by addressing the second-leading cause of lung cancer – radon gas.
Radon is a radioactive gas that can seep up from the soil into homes, schools and other buildings. Since radon is invisible, tasteless and odorless, dangerous levels can exist indoors without occupants knowing. Testing is the only way to determine the indoor radon level in a building, and it’s estimated that 1 in 15 homes have unsafe levels of radon gas. Exposure to radon causes an estimated 21,000 lung cancer deaths annually in the United States. Fortunately, straightforward measures effective in reducing radon indoors are available, and when used properly can prevent radon-induced lung cancer and save lives.
In “Reflections on the National Radon Action Plan’s (NRAP) Progress, 2015-2020,” the Lung Association and its partners highlight strides made toward preventing nearly 2,000 radon-caused cancer deaths every year. The NRAP was launched in 2015 as a public-private partnership among 14 organizations representing the federal government, industry and non-profit sectors. Led by the Lung Association and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the partnership has a shared goal of preventing thousands of deaths every year from radon-induced lung cancer.
“Lung cancer is the nation’s #1 cancer killer among both women and men. And lung cancer caused by radon gas is entirely preventable. The American Lung Association is a proud supporter of this nationwide endeavor to advance radon awareness, testing and mitigation,” said Harold Wimmer, President and CEO of the American Lung Association. “Through this partnership and our continued efforts, we move closer toward our goal of eliminating lung cancer caused by radon.”
By promoting national efforts to build radon risk reduction into new home construction and real estate transactions; provide incentives and support for homeowners to test for and fix radon problems; disseminate quality standards for radon professionals and raise awareness of this under-recognized health risk, the NRAP is significantly reducing preventable radon-induced lung cancer.
“New requirements to test for and fix high levels of radon in low-income multifamily housing—changes the NRAP team has supported at every step—will make a particularly important contribution to reducing radon-induced lung cancer deaths, particularly in under-represented communities,” Wimmer said.
Moving forward, the multisector NRAP team is focused on developing the next version of the NRAP.
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, which has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and is a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.