Test, Fix and Save a Life: Easy Steps to Prevent the Second Leading Cause of Lung Cancer

During National Radon Action Month in January, the American Lung Association urges everyone to test their home for radon

Radon gas is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year in the U.S. and is the second leading cause of lung cancer. During January’s National Radon Action Month, the American Lung Association is urging everyone to help save lives by testing their home for radon and mitigate if high levels are detected.

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas emitted from the ground. Radon is odorless, tasteless and colorless. Radon can enter a home through cracks in floors, basement walls, foundations and other openings. Radon can be present at high levels inside homes, schools and other buildings.  

The American Lung Association recommends two easy steps to prevent lung cancer caused by radon exposure: 

  1. Test: At least 1 in 15 homes reaches elevated levels of radon. The only way to detect radon in your home is to test the air. Do-it-yourself test kits are simple to use and inexpensive.
  2. Mitigate: EPA urges anyone with radon levels at or above 4 picoCuries per liter (pCi/L) to take action to install a mitigation system in their homes. Both the EPA and the American Lung Association recommend that mitigation be considered if levels are greater than 2 pCi/L. After high levels are detected, a radon professional should install a radon mitigation system, which is easy and relatively affordable. A typical radon mitigation system consists of a vent pipe, fan and properly sealing cracks and other openings. This system collects radon gas from underneath the foundation and vents it to the outside of your home.

Contact your state radon program for a list of certified professionals in your state. Some state health departments offer financial assistance or low interest loans for radon mitigation.

The result: You could save a life. Exposure to radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. In fact, radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in people who have never smoked. Smoking and radon each cause lung cancer, but exposure to both results in an even greater risk.

Learn more about radon testing and mitigation at Lung.org/radon and take the Lung Association’s free Radon Basics course at Lung.org/Radon-Basics.

For more information, contact:

Jill Dale
[email protected]

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